Report: aviation industry playing catch up on cybersecurity

Like most critical infrastructure, the aviation industry has become increasingly connected in the digital space, reliant on a constellation of computer systems, parts and stakeholders to provide services to millions of people each day.

However, few other sectors have a higher profile or a thinner margin for error and a new report from the Atlantic Council argues that these highly complex, “flying data centers” are increasingly at risk for technical problems or cyberattacks that can lead to accidents and loss of life.

The aviation industry still has to figure out how to incorporate cybersecurity into governance accountability frameworks for flight safety, security and enterprise IT, according to the report. Supply chain risk management also presents multiple challenges.


Multi-domain operations: Like bringing Waze to the battlefield

In about a month?s time, the U.S. Air Force will host the first demonstration of its Advanced Battle Management System ? the networking concept that will serve as the technological backbone of the military?s shift to an advanced way of seeing the battlefield.

Through multi-domain operations, the military services aim to link together air, sea, land, space, cyber and information assets to better identify and eliminate threats. And while the idea could leave to revolutionary jump forward in awareness and information sharing for warfighters, the technology necessary to achieve it isn?t at all revolutionary, said Will Roper, Air Force?s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics.

?We?ll connect F-22s, F-35s, SpaceX Starlink satellites, Navy ships, Army soldiers,? Roper said at a recent Center for a New American Security discussion. ?We?re going to connect them in an internet-like style. What we?re really doing to enable multi-domain is finally building the internet in the Air Force. It?s all the stuff that you know. There are no show-stoppers here.?


Building the Air Force We Need

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson issued a warning at AFA?s Air, Space & Cyber Conference last September: ?We must see the world as it is. That is why the National Defense Strategy explicitly recognizes that we have returned to an era of great power competition. We must prepare.?

World events back up this assertion in no uncertain terms. With China aggressively expanding its territorial zone of control in the Pacific Ocean in excess of international norms, and Russia pursuing overt acts of hostility in places like Ukraine and Syria, the global threat environment is growing to levels unseen since the Cold War. North Korea?s possession of nuclear weapons and Iran?s continued assertiveness in the Middle East are also generating strategic-level threats from regional actors.


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.