Cyber Security @ Airports

CyberSecurity @ Airports

This article will focus on Airport, security has always been a big issue, but airport cyber security is just as important. The impact cyber attacks can have on airports is overwhelming.

This article will focus on some of the known events that have been a turning point for the cyber attacks on airports.

Vietnam international airports cyber attack

One of the first known official cyber incidents that airport cyber security had been breached in visible way and without the ability to deny the attack happened was back in July, 2016.

A group suspected to be coming from China, known as 1937CN, launched an attack which (supposedly) gained control over of one of the administrative computers in the airports network.

This allowed the attackers to gain access to the monitor screens and change the content of the ‘Departures and Arrivals’ digital screens to display content they wanted. The attack also impacted several other airlines, which switched to working manually for several hours.

This attack was political in nature, and tried to raise the topic of the islands in dispute between Vietnam and China and had impact on both Vietnams international airports at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

Airports are tempting targets for different types of hackers because they are geographically contained, with many people passing in and out, and most of them are connected to digital networks via a large variety of devices.



Ukraine’s Airport cyber attack

In October 2017, it was reported that a cyber attack hit Ukraine’s Odessa airport. Not much have been officially published about the nature of the attack. The official statement said hackers hit the system, and as a result, all the systems are now working in a stricter mode.

This tells us normal humans nothing.

However, simple digging into the details makes it seem like the airport has pretty good reasons for not wanting to publicly explain in detail what happened.
At the time, a very popular accounting company that is being used by many local companies in Ukraine was compromised. Instead of sending the regular update, it send a malware and installed it, causing massive infections throughout the country. In the event the internal networks of the airport were to be infected because they lacked security procedures and basic protection tools, the malware could, in theory, shut down large parts of the airport and cause some real damage.

Iran Airport cyber attack

In May, 2018 reports arrived from Iran that screens at Mashhad’s airport started showing anti regime messages instead of flight information.

The way the hackers announced it was original: they were able to hack into the email of the airport’s civil aviation head, from which they shared news of the hacking.

It is unknown if the attackers were caught, or where they came from. However, the message this attack carried was a political message to the citizens.

The risks mentioned in this article are of incidents that cause relatively small damages compared to the potential damage of cyber attacks. In theory (or not?), an attacker could do things such as gaining control on the control tower, disrupt communications and gaining control on electronic systems such as the landing systems or air control (and probably some more scenarios).

So the conclusion is that cyber attacks on airports are already causing damage, and it’s becoming a bigger concern as technology evolves and suprisngly or not, many of the airports are lack of even basic cyber security.

Stay safe, and don’t forget to visit for some more cyber threat intelligence.

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