Research conducted by PA Consulting Group reveals that most airports are ill-equipped to deal with major cyber-attacks
The report titled,‘Overcome the Silent Threat’, says that an increasing consumer demand for faster internet and digital engagement with airlines and retailers are providing cyber criminals with more opportunities to attack.
According to the latest figures from the European Aviation Safety Agency, there are currently around 1,000 cyber-attacks each month on airport and aviation systems worldwide.
Airports are at a higher risk of cyber-attacks due to an increasing use of technologies and digital infrastructure in day to day operations, new data sharing obligations and greater connectivity across staff and passenger devices.
David Oliver, Global Transport Security lead at PA Consulting Group, thinks that airports are in dire need for tighter security measures. “Fundamentally, the focus on physical security needs to be applied with the same rigour in the cyber arena if airports are going to build resilience to potentially catastrophic cyber-attacks.
If the industry does not act now, it will find itself at increased vulnerability to cyber-attacks as new technologies become part of everyday operations.”
Although airports are aware of their increasing vulnerability to potential cyber-attacks, their systems heavily rely on remote towers that transmit information from one place to another. These systems are easy targets for cyber criminals to compromise and attacks could lead to operation disruptions making it almost impossible for airports to manage their traffic.
David Oliver continues: “With the EU Network and Information Systems Directive, which aims to improve the cyber resilience of the UK’s essential services, now in force, UK airports risk penalties of up to £17 million for failing to put in place appropriate cyber security measures.”
The report based its findings on an analysis of a series of interviews with four major international airports and a industry professionals who represent the type and scale of airports globally.