LOT Polish Airlines was forced to ground 20 flights over the weekend after hackers successfully launched a cyber attack to infiltrate ground control systems, preventing LOT from generating flight plans required for planes to take off.
Of concern is that the attack was on state-of-the-art systems used by many other airlines that may currently be susceptible to the same style of attack. Curiously, an American airline was forced to delay its flights for 1 hour last month due to issues relating to the generation of its flight plans.
This attack also comes on the back of reports in May 2015 that a cyber security researcher was able to take control of a commercial aircraft’s controls mid-flight by hacking its in-flight entertainment systems.
That the LOT cyber attack is a different style of attack should cause additional concern for the aviation industry as it demonstrates the susceptibility of multiple disparate systems and highlights just how serious a threat and far reaching cyber attacks are.
The aviation industry, and the vast majority of other industries that are heavily reliant on computers and networks in their day to day business, need to take cyber security seriously and protect themselves appropriately.
While of course improving the cyber resilience of your systems to withstand a cyber attack is important, it is impossible to make any system completely cyber resilient. All businesses should consider having tailored cyber insurance to assist in dealing with a successful cyber attack.