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DHS Revives Program to Protect Electronic Systems on Airliners

DHS Revives Program to Protect Electronic Systems on Airliners
  • The revived program aims at identifying cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities in airliners and making them unexploitable by hackers.
  • The program has been restarted in response to the growing threat of cyberattacks on critical national infrastructures including power grids and commercial aviation which are used by the military.

What’s the matter?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working on a revived program that aims at protecting the electronic systems of new and old airliners from cyberattacks.

The big picture

The revived program, led by the Department of Homeland Security and involving the Pentagon and Transportation Department, aims at identifying cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities in aircraft and improve cyber resilience in a critical area of public infrastructure.

  • This new program ensures that hackers can’t exploit potential vulnerabilities in the electronic systems of new and old airliners.
  • This will be achieved by examining and testing all the electronic systems used in aircraft, for vulnerabilities.

“There are many risks in aviation beyond looking at the aircraft. It’s very important to be looking at the whole ecosystem and identifying key points where a digital system, if it were to malfunction, could cause a bad day for a lot of people.” Jeffrey Troy, President of the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center, said.

Worth noting

The program has been restarted in response to the growing threat of cyberattacks on critical national infrastructures including power grids and commercial aviation which are used by the military.

  • The DHS said that as part of the program it had acquired an old 2016 Boeing 757 airliner and spent more than $10 million to identify potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
  • Program administrators had planned to run almost 15 cybersecurity tests on the aircraft.

The program’s manager, Rob Hickey said that he hopes the DHS resumes the testing protocol that his team developed “for the good of all—especially the flying public.”

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