Major infrastructure is always under the threat of some kind of cybersecurity incident. One major area that has come under constant threat, especially from ransomware, in recent years is the transportation infrastructure. Nothing motivates a potential ransomware payday like locking systems essential to subways, airports, and traffic systems. Airports, in particular, have had numerous incidents with cybercrime and some are stepping up their game in an attempt to mitigate the risk of coming under attack. According to an end-of-the-year summary report from Sydney Airport, the Australian transport hub is taking extra steps to try and prevent major hacking incidents. The most notable of these measures is a round-the-clock "Security Control Centre" that is expected to be completed in April. This is in addition to numerous other measures being taken to fulfill a specific cybersecurity mitigation strategy by 2020.
The report describes the strategy as follows:
With the security threat landscape evolving rapidly, we have continued to focus on managing current and emerging cyber risks. A refreshed Information and Cyber Security 2020 strategy has been at the centre of our cyber programs to drive security governance, improved maturity levels, and stronger user awareness via security culture campaigns. We work closely with the Australian government via the Joint Cyber Security Centre (JCSC) and are partnering with the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (ISAC) on global aviation cyber security intelligence.
This year, as part of our maturity improvements, we partnered with a managed security service provider to enhance our cyber defence capabilities with a new 24x7 Cyber Security Operations Centre. We also participated in Australia’s first joint cyber risk workshop in collaboration with Qantas. This included security professionals at all major national ports, government and Qantas to assess the security landscape and interdependencies within the aviation sector.
It would be an intelligent choice for airports around the world to, if they haven’t done so already, follow the example of Sydney Airport and create a more intricate cybersecurity plan. Oftentimes when discussing security and airports the first thought is to prevent acts of terrorism or criminal smuggling operations. Cybersecurity is just as important to focus on as knocking airports offline, especially if essential functions like air traffic control are affected.
Featured image: Flickr / James Cridland