Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

U.S., Israel move to harden aviation assets from cyberattack

The defense and aviation industries are taking a fresh and harder look at how well their top-of-the-line aircraft are protected from cyberattacks.

In the U.S. the Lockheed-Martin F-35 is the recent focus of attention due to the fighter plane’s overwhelming dependence upon software to handle everything from weapons deployment to resupply, reported the Military Times. At the same time Israel has created a consortium of aviation and cybersecurity firms to look at the security situation for its commercial aviation industry: airports, airlines and aircraft, according to the Times of Israel.

U.S. Air Force leadership is relatively confident the F-35 airframe itself is secure from cyberattack due to its layered cybersecurity setup, but this level of confidence does not hold up when other factors are brought into play, specifically the Autonomic Logistics Information System and the Joint Reprogramming Enterprise, the Military Times reported. Each requires the plane to connect to outside systems to exchange data creating an attack vector.

Other areas of concern for the F-35 are its simulators, which contain critical data on the fighter, and wireless systems that are being introduced for flight-line maintenance purposes, the Military Times reported.

In Israel, the companies getting together are: Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), CyberArk, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., El Al’s Cockpit Innovation hub, Karamba Security and ClearSky.

The group is tasked with being proactive and predict threats before they become a reality. The consortium’s ultimate goal is similar to what Israel accomplished in the 1970s when, in reaction to several airplane hijackings that took place the airline industry developed defensive measures to harden cockpit doors. This, and other protective measures, have helped eliminate the hijacking threat for Israeli planes.

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