Airlines are a growing target of hack attacks and need to cooperate on measures to tighten security.
Alan Pellegrini, president and chief executive of aviation technology supplier Thales USA, told Iata:
“The threat of hackers to aircraft is real. We’ve seen several high-profile hacks over the last two years. We’ve had hacks into the Wi-Fi connectivity of passengers. We’ve had hackers get into the ground systems of an airline.
“How do you protect your aircraft given you are connecting passengers to Wi-Fi on aircraft? Some of you are adding connectivity to crews, your operations are connected on the ground, some are experimenting with cloud-based avionics controlling aircraft operations. How is data in the cloud secure?
“There is no silver bullet.”
Calin Rovinescu, chief executive of Air Canada and chairman of the Star Alliance executive board, described recent attacks as “a real wake-up call for the industry”.
He said: “The airline industry has ratcheted up its protection in this area. This is not an overnight wonder. It involves a multi-year plan with responsibility at the highest level.”
Major general Linda Urrutia-Varhall, director of national intelligence for aviation security in the US, said: “Aviation is a central focus for terrorists, state and criminal opportunists.”