In a recent article, we explored the issue of cybersecurity in airports, and looked at how the aviation industry is determined to create a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity preparedness.

The issue of cybersecurity in airports is an area that is rapidly increasing in importance, and is looking to stay that way in the wake of industry data protection initiatives that are sweeping the globe, such as GDPR, which comes into force at the end of May 2018 across Europe, and the introduction of the US’ Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7), which will require advanced cybersecurity solutions to secure systems against ever-increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.

What is happening today in the airports environment in terms of cybersecurity?

Aviation industry experts are seeing notable growth in the adoption of cybersecurity measures in the heaviest-regulated regions, such as Europe, yet notice a wide disparity in preparedness, depending upon the size of the airport and the regulatory conditions of the region.

Deputy director general of programmes and services at ACI World, Antoine Rostworoski, said in a recent interview that cybersecurity concerns are at the top of the priority list for ACI World and were discussed at length at the World Governing Board Meeting in Mauritius last year. The group are committed to the provision of support for airports of all sizes and are developing cybersecurity support tools to assist in the protection of assets, data and infrastructure against cyber-attack.

The future of cybersecurity in evolving airports

Rostworoski also believes that ‘cybersecurity is a key component for airports of the future.’ This will be because of the increasing uptake of integrated airport solutions, which can create vulnerabilities within a system that could be the target of a sophisticated cyber-attack.

As the proliferation of digital connectivity and cloud technology continues, it is becoming even more necessary to begin to plan a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity measures in airports, and as more airports adopt the latest connectivity solutions, the core issue is clear.

What is the industry doing to support airport security measures?

Groups like ACI World are working with global airports and international agencies to provide the support and tools they need for both the short and long-term cybersecurity goals.

Currently, there are different security standards, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology-NIST, and International Organisation for Standardization-ISO. ACI World plan to leverage both, and its Airport IT Benchmarking Tool is based on ISO 27002.
ACI World also shares its commitment to training, and will include new training courses, industry workshops and a comprehensive handbook to complement its tools and has already begun offering courses under the ACI Global Training Accredited Institute.

Working alongside the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), ACI World plan to align the Airport Cybersecurity Programme with the initiatives being put in place by other agencies, departments and organisations within the aviation industry.

As industry experts come together to support global airports in their adoption of cybersecurity measures, we hope to see a growing, secure aviation environment, whether within a heavily regulated region or a non-regulated area. With education as a priority, in addition to implemented plans, tools and development support, airports and airlines will be better equipped to deal with the core issue of cybersecurity – now, and in the future.

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