The issue of airplane security is certainly being taken very seriously. Separately, the U.S. Air Force will also be taking a bigger role in identifying security problems in commercial aviation systems–many of which are used by the military.
So far, cyberattacks targeting airlines have focused on the IT systems rather than aircraft themselves. U.K. airline British Airways is facing a huge fine after passenger data from around 380,000 bookings was breached, including bank card numbers along with cvv codes.
But in the future, this could change. “The U.S. Airforce and most other airforces use airframes and systems that are often the same as their civilian counterparts,” says Philip Ingram, MBE, a former colonel in British military intelligence. He says the restarting of the program suggests “that secret intelligence has identified nation state and non-nation state actors potentially looking at vulnerabilities in aircraft.”
Meanwhile, Ingram (Cyber Expert) says the threat from terrorism is real, but the main players have not found a way of hacking aircraft yet: “If terrorists could find a way of hacking an aircraft to bring it down, they would. The ISIS Cyber Arm, the Cyber Caliphate Shield has lots of ambitions to carry out these sorts of attacks, but they don’t have the technical capabilities.”
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U.S. Government Confirms New Aircraft Cybersecurity Move Amid Terrorism Fears