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Cyber threats in the aviation, aerospace and defense sectors

Posted on April 2017

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​Cyber security is a rising concern across a number of industries but, for some sectors, such as aviation, aerospace and defence, cyber attacks pose potentially disastrous ramifications. As a result, groups such as airlines and aircraft manufacturers are collaborating to tackle this emerging threat, head on.

Cyber attacks on the rise

The Director of Strategy & Safety Management at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has revealed that aviation systems are on the receiving end of thousands of attacks each month. The areas most vulnerable to attack are the connective communication systems between the plane and the ground, which transmit flight information, and on-the-ground networks.

In June 2015 a cyber security breach took down the flight plan system of 10 planes for around five hours. This DDoS attack grounded nearly 1,500 passengers. Growth in areas such as the Internet of Things has increased awareness of risk in the sector as a new breed of threat is beginning to emerge. Director of Cyber Security at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, Dr. Gabi Siboni, commented: “The next 9/11 will be caused by computer hackers infiltrating aircraft controls”.

An industry on the defence

SITA’s 2016 Airline IT Trends Survey revealed that 9% of airlines plan to invest in cyber security in the next three years, with 72% of the 200 airlines surveyed already investing in cyber security projects.

The US launched the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center (A-ISAC) in 2014. The A-ISAC includes input from airlines and security agencies, including Boeing, the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA. As of yet, Europe does not have a major presence in this collaborative project – the only European members are Airbus and Lufthansa.

Europe’s cyber security defenders

The European Centre for Cyber Security in Aviation (ECCSA) has been set up by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The ECCSA boasts an Aviation Computer Emergency Response Team (AV-CERT) that helps analyse cyber threats to better understand their origins and identify security flaws, and which could help work towards technical solutions and create best practice guidelines to tackle the issue.

The job market

Due to the rising threat and awareness in the industry, there is a clear shortage of experienced cyber security professionals. According to recent figures, there are only enough active candidates in this sector to fill 31.6% of opportunities. This is not endemic to the UK; Israel has 28.4%, Germany 35%, France 38.6%, the US 66.7%, and Canada 68.1%. Globally, we now need more cyber security professionals in order to protect ourselves from cyber threats.

Economist Mariano Mamertino commented: “The problem is fast approaching crisis point and British businesses will inevitably be put at risk if they can’t find the expertise they need to mitigate the threat. “This should serve as a wake-up call to Britain’s tech sector – it must pull together to [...] attract more people into cyber security roles.”

Cyber security candidates from outside the aviation industry will find it relatively easy to transfer across to aviation. Here at Glocomms, we specialise in recruiting across Connective Technology roles, over the last 6 months we have noticed the increasing demand for network security engineers, security architects and security analysts in the sector.

We work closely with clients with in the sector to monitor and track the best talent in the market. If you are a cyber security expert searching for your next step, or you’re looking to bolster your cyber security team over the next few months, get in touch today.  


About Us

Glocomms is a leading specialist recruitment agency for the technology sector. We were founded in 2013 to give clients and candidates peace of mind that the
recruitment process is in expert hands. Our continual investment in best-in-class technologies and consultant training enables us to recruit with speed, precision and accuracy. Today, Glocomms provides contingency, retained search and project-based contract recruitment across our offices in San Francisco, New York, London and Berlin. Find out how Glocomms can help you.

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