The aviation industry is enhancing its connectivity capabilities for passengers and has begun its migration to the internet of things (IoT). This movement has introduced opportunities, as well as challenges, in aircraft operations, as aircraft devices and sensors become the standard rather than nice-to-have options. Maintaining secure links is more important than ever for the in-flight passenger communicating with friends or managing e-commerce transactions. Aviation communications security has moved from the position of seldom-discussed to that of critical importance.
Why it Matters
Vulnerable data transfer between terrestrial nodes and the aircraft have taken on new meaning with the migration of focus from “low-priority” capabilities (email, Skype, video streaming) to a broadened expansion of in-flight connectivity. The value of the aircraft as an IoT node is increasing as aviation networks capabilities are enhanced to provide in-flight aircraft performance information, emergency health assistance, safety and security reporting, flight path optimization, and real-time weather updates made possible by the convergence of sensors and analytics.
This convergence necessitates high-bandwidth connections that provide robust information delivery in the return link from the plane. As this information becomes more valuable to the traveler, the security of that information becomes critical.
Just as terrestrial networks strive to secure their data flow, the aviation community is looking at providers to protect and secure information in timely delivery to and from the aircraft. Defending aviation communications from attack is as critical as firewalling corporate information or protecting children from predatory attacks on their home computer.