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The importance of cybersecurity in the aviation sector can’t be overemphasized.

Take last year when Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airlines noticed odd activity on its internal network. Turned out a hacker gained access to their data system and obtained the personal information of 9.4 million customers – information like credit card details, passport information and personal details.

The Cathay Pacific’s data breech was the largest in the history of the airline industry. Not only did passengers lose faith in the airline’s security, the company’s stock dropped significantly.

Cyberattacks have also been known to threaten an airline’s trade secrets. GE Aviation’s cybersecurity team had to enlist the FBI to prevent the attempts of a foreign government from stealing the company’s vital operating secrets. The attacks were thwarted, but had they been successful, GE’s competitiveness in the global aviation and aerospace market would have been severely compromised.

Besides protecting trade secrets and personal information of passengers, cybersecurity in the aviation sector is crucial for protecting lives. So much so that in 2017 the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new initiative aimed at cyberattacks meant to bring down aircraft because clearly the front lines of modern conflicts are often computer networks.

The measures in the new initiatives by DHS include enhancing screening approaches and increased passenger vetting as well as encouraging aviation partners to commit to systematic and ongoing cybersecurity efforts.

For defense purposes, efficient cybersecurity is also paramount. In 2018, the Air Force began a program to fundamentally reorient its IT staff, reframing their role away from servicing email systems and toward cybersecurity. Now, its IT professionals are part of mission defense teams that carry out the Air Force’s cyber operations.

The Air Force made the changes because of its recognition of the importance of cybersecurity in accomplishing its core missions. In fact, the Air Force’s reorganizing of its IT section is part of a defense-wide initiative to respond to threats to the aviation sector.

Partners to the Air Force in the aerospace and defense (A&D) area are also recognizing their important roles regarding cybersecurity. A survey reports that 85% of aviation CEOs are concerned about the risks and vulnerabilities posed by cybercriminals – a much higher percentage than report their concerns in other industries.

Consequently, aviation military contractors are recognizing that cybersecurity is not a one and done process, but rather ongoing with the need for cutting edge knowledge provided by training, risk assessments and risk prevention programs.

Want to know more about cybersecurity in the aviation sector? Tonex offers Aviation Cybersecurity Training Bootcamp, a 3-day class covering civilian and military aircraft cybersecurity and operation analysis including: airworthiness security DO-326A/ED 202A, information and data, mission, networks, technology, embedded avionics systems and the holistic system security engineering problem 360 degree.

Additionally, Tonex offers another 45 courses in Aerospace & Defense Engineering, such as:

Advanced Link 16 Training (3 days)

Combat Systems Engineering Training (3 days)

Radar Systems Design and Engineering Training (4 days)

DO-178C Training (3 days)

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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