US Air Force moves to fortify F-35 weak points against hacking

BERLIN ? The U.S. Air Force is devoting fresh energy to plugging cybersecurity holes in the F-35’s external support systems, as they are deemed the easiest entry points for hackers into the fifth-generation combat jet, according to a key service official.

?It?s a software-based aircraft, and any software-based platform is going to be susceptible to hacking,? Brig. Gen. Stephen Jost, director of the Air Force F-35 Integration Office, told Defense News in an interview at the International Fighter industry conference here.

The service considers the information backbone of the actual airplane ? managed by manufacturer Lockheed Martin ? relatively safe. That is thanks to what Jost called ?multilayer security protections? ranging from secure authentication when crafting mission data packages for each aircraft before takeoff, to pilots punching in personal identification numbers to start up the plane.