Surge in Aviation Cyberattacks

Cybersecurity issue in aviation is on a rise. Shipping lines and forwarders are the ones capturing the headlines, but the threat in air cargo cannot be ignored.

There was a massive 530% increase in cyberattacks between 2019 and 2020 that was reported to Eurocontrol, while there were 775 cyberattacks on airlines in 2020 – and just 150 at airports.
These attacks were mostly financially motivated, as per Eurocontol report, with financial losses and plenty of data leakage. Director, at a Logistics Solutions company, indicated that aviation is a target, with severity of these cyber-attacks increasing. Various attacks on air cargo operations have not been publicized, and they are not immune from cyberattacks either.
Multiple attempts have been made to steal personal data, credit cards etc. of passengers’ data than cargo. Though there is enough motivation for hackers to look at cargo data as well because a shipment involves data or intellectual property transfer of up to 10 separate parties across the globe. Hence, both are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
We live in a smaller world than ever, with many processes of the airlines moving into an online mode, for instance; bookings, air waybill data capture, customer service (tracking) etc. Many stakeholders get connected to Airlines across the globe like travel agents, forwarders, customs, airport systems etc.
In a cyber secured world, the chain is as strong as the weakest link. There are several smaller entities with whom airlines relate to, and they usually do not have proper cybersecurity infrastructure, which creates a constant risk of a cyberattack. In many hacking cases, the hackers exist into the system for more than eight months already, and strike when least expected.
There is a lot of critical data on passengers and cargo on airlines systems that are always at risk.
Though it seems that cargo community systems (CCS) maybe contributing towards cybersecurity weakness, but as per experts they in fact they enhance protection.
CCS usually have seven layers of security, which are provided by leading cloud providers like Microsoft and Amazon, which helps combat cybersecurity risks to the larger stakeholder systems significantly.
CCS can sort of democratize the cybersecurity and help provide better security infrastructure to the smaller players and reduce the risks for the systems of larger players. Which means a community approach to security greatly reduces cyber risks. Besides lending safety to lesser players, CCS also embodies technologies like blockchain further tightening the security of supply chain data.

Crux is that we need a community approach towards cybersecurity to reduce the risks.

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