The aviation world is impressive with its modern technology. Every day, numerous planes fly people safely around the world. However, as the industry advances and offers better online services, it also faces cyber risks. Nowadays, most interactions between airlines and passengers happen online, where people check flights, book tickets, and arrange their trips. While these online platforms are handy, they can also be vulnerable to cyber attacks.
While the focus on cyber threats often centers around ground operations, it’s crucial to acknowledge the vulnerabilities present in the inflight experience. Modern aircraft are equipped with advanced in-flight entertainment and communication systems, more and more accessible directly through the passengers’ devices, creating potential targets for cyber attacks. Even if they are not connected to the aircraft avionics, safeguarding these systems is imperative to prevent unauthorized access and potential damage to the passenger’s experience.
A breach in this area poses a severe threat, potentially damaging the airline’s reputation and causing legal implications. First protection level is to ensure your provider encrypts all content which is made available to your passengers, as well as the communications between cabin crew devices, onboard server(s) and passenger’s portal. Additional protections can be integrated on a case by case basis.
Unauthorized access to passenger devices could lead to the compromise of sensitive information and potential misuse. Implementation of robust encryption protocols, precise ports’ management, continuous monitoring, and intrusion detection systems is critical to counteract this threat effectively.
The theft of passenger data poses significant risks, including identity theft and financial fraud. Encryption, secure data storage practices, and regular cybersecurity audits are essential to fortify the protection of passenger information.
While comparatively less critical, disruptions to the inflight entertainment platform could impact the passenger experience. Implementing measures such as secure authentication and redundancy systems can mitigate the risk of minor disruptions and ensure a seamless inflight experience.
Given the scale of these risks, airlines and other industry stakeholders must take proactive measures to safeguard their systems and protect their passengers. Here are several steps that can be taken to bolster cyber security in passenger portals:
Securing the wIFE/IFC: In an increasingly digital aviation landscape, airlines must collaborate with technology providers and cybersecurity experts to fortify passenger portals against cyber threats. Ensuring the adoption of a proactive and robust cybersecurity approach is essential to secure the skies and protect passengers globally.
Strengthen Cyber Security for Suppliers: Ensure that suppliers are engaged and sensitive to cybersecurity standards, such as ISO 27001 or SOC2. Even if such certification is not mandatory, collaborate with suppliers to create a flexible platform capable of processing fast-track updates whenever necessary.
Regular Security Testing: Conduct frequent security checks and simulated attacks to identify and address weak spots promptly. Establish a proactive approach to cybersecurity maintenance, ensuring continuous improvement in the face of evolving threats.
In the dynamic and interconnected realm of the aviation industry, protecting you and your passengers from cyber risks requires a multifaceted and collaborative effort. By implementing comprehensive cybersecurity measures, the industry can not only secure its digital infrastructure but also uphold the trust and confidence of passengers in the face of evolving cyber threats. Balancing technological advancements with robust security protocols is imperative for a resilient and secure aviation ecosystem.