Embedded Avionics

ICAO Rallies Support for Cybersecurity Coalition at Bucharest Summit

ICAO Secretary General Fang Liu. Photo courtesy of ICAO

Cybersecurity is a prominent issue in aviation. That’s why the ICAO hosted a summit to unite civil aviation stakeholders from Europe, the Middle East and Africa in trying to solve it.

“In an industry as interconnected as air transport, we cannot lose sight of the fact that a single cyber incident will likely impact multiple companies and stakeholders,” said ICAO Secretary General Fang Liu, while kicking off the event. “Almost daily, new and more sophisticated digital processes are coming online with impacts on the efficient management of our network, and the ability of airline and airport operators to serve their customers.”

Highlighting that recent insurance sector assessments have identified the combined threats from cyber-crime, IT failure and database breaches as their No. 3 global business risk for 2017, Liu noted that ICAO is hard at work on a policy to address cybersecurity in civil aviation and that the organization’s new global aviation security plan will greatly facilitate the global coordination and information sharing so fundamental to successfully addressing these threats.

She added that several updates to ICAO’s guidance materials had already been completed and that it was ICAO’s view “that the secure and resilient exchange of information required to cope with the needs of evolving aviation activities can be enabled through a trust framework.”

“This would consist of coordinated standards, procedures, methods and agreements for the digital exchange of information between ground-ground, air-ground and air-air systems, as well as to regulate an identity system,” Liu added. “These provisions, in turn, will support the ongoing implementation of performance-based navigation (PBN), aeronautical information management (AIM), air traffic flow management (ATFM) or any other current or projected air transport capability requiring the digital exchange of information between systems in a secure environment.”

The Bucharest event featured a series of tabletop exercises on airport cybersecurity, jointly organized by Airports Council International (ACI) in conjunction with ICAO and the governments of Romania and Finland.

Liu said that cyber-related topics will be front and center at ICAO’s second high-level conference on aviation security at its Montreal headquarters this autumn and that related communications needs for remotely piloted and unmanned aircraft systems, high-altitude and outer-space operations and other emerging issues were also being addressed in this context.

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