Cybersecurity threats against aviation on the rise

Protecting aviation facilities could generate $1.7B opportunity for IT security vendors, says Visiongain

Cybersecurity threats targeting airports, airlines and air traffic control systems are on the rise, creating a $1.7 billion opportunity for IT security providers this year, estimates market research firm Visiongain.

"Considering that cyberspace provides a relatively low-cost, risk-free haven for a broad range of disruptive and intelligence gathering operations, it is reasonable to conclude that that we can expect that the threat from illegal cyber-related activities will continue," observes Visiongain.

"Growing demand for air travel will put further pressures on critical network infrastructure ensuring that there will be substantial investment and allocation of resources towards adopting and maintaining the safety and security of such systems," it adds.

Visiongain identifies the following companies as leading providers of aviation cybersecurity: Amadeus, Airbus Defence and Space Group, ARINC, Boeing , EMC, Harris, IBM, Intel, Sabre, SITA, Symantec and Unisys.

Cyberattacks against the air-traffic control system are particularly worrisome to the U.S. government. During his 2013 State of the Union address in which he announced his cybersecurity order, President Obama said, "America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyberattacks. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems."

The American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics noted in a 2013 white paper that aviation generates $2.2 trillion globally or 3.5 percent of the global gross domestic product. "Disruption to this flow can result in significant economic and social disruption that would ripple across the globe, as demonstrated in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001," it warned.

"Currently, there is no common vision, or common strategy, goals, standards, implementation models or international policies defining cybersecurity for commercial aviation ... It is critical that all of these members adopt a collaborative, risk-informed decision-making model to set goals and define a cybersecurity framework and roadmap to strengthen the aviation system's resilience against attacks," AIAA concluded.

For more:
- see the Visiongain release
- read the AIAA paper

Related Articles:
US Airways suffers two data breaches in less than a month
Virgin Atlantic takes Glass for a test flight
FAA allows passengers to keep electronic devices turned on