Aviation Africa 2018 To Tackle Cyber Security – Keynote Address From Brian Lord Obe, Former Head Of British Government, Cyber Intelligence Unit

IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty calls cyber attacks as “the greatest threat to every company in the world”. For the aviation industry it is a threat that needs to be taken seriously.

Egypt’s minister of aviation, H.E. Sharif Fathi has warned operators in the North African country to step up their game in cyber security and called for the subject to top the agenda at the Aviation Africa Summit when it takes place in Cairo on April 17-18 this year.

One of the top cyber security experts in the world, Brian Lord, OBE, who headed the British Government’s cyber intelligence unit at GCHQ where he was deputy director, will be flying to Cairo to give the keynote on the subject to the airline chiefs, civil aviation authorities, government ministers, manufacturers and industry suppliers from all across Africa and the Middle East who are attending the summit.

Supported by IATA, ICAO, AfBAA and the African Union the event will be analysing the major issues affecting the industry in the region. “It’s surprising how little thought many of us give to cyber security in our day-to-day actions. Instead, we tend to brush it off as a problem for multinationals or something for the IT department to worry about. Yet this is a clear – and dangerous – misconception, as cyber security is not only a part of every IT discussion – but every business discussion,” said Chris Moore, chief operating officer of global technology firm Satcom Direct (SD) who will be presenting a case study about how government officials, heads of state and VIPs are not exempt from the threat.

“Unfortunately, being in a business or private aircraft doesn’t exempt you from a cyber threat. One of the most common myths in the industry is that once the aircraft’s Wi-Fi signal is out of the range of those on the ramp, it is safe from an attack. Nothing could be farther from the truth,” Moore said.”Regardless of whether you are on the ground or in the air, if you can see the internet, then the internet – and the hackers – are most definitely able to see you. In other words, altitude doesn’t make you safe.”

Moore and Lord will be sharing some of the realities around aviation and the cyber threat.

Research by SD has shown:

  • 73% of company security experts expect to experience a major security breach within a year.
  • Despite the money and resources spent on cyber security, 87% of company security experts believe their security controls are failing to protect their business.
  • 65% of security professionals identified phishing and social engineering as the biggest security threats to their organization. All it takes is one person clicking a fake email to give a hacker direct access to all the data on their device and a direct path to your network. Yet, even though everybody claims to be aware of this risk, 78% of us click on the links anyway.
  • 97% of applications tested by Trustwave had one or more security vulnerabilities.
  • 70% of business respondents think that employees are the biggest risk to the business.

“The aviation industry has taken a very casual approach to cyber threats. Minister Fathi is absolutely correct in highlighting the issue,” said Aviation Africa Summit chairman Alan Peaford, MBE. “This issue needs to be addressed not by the IT departments of the aviation companies, but by chief executives and chief operating officers. There needs to be a non-technical understanding of the seriousness of the threat, and the rapidly approaching deadlines for action.”It may be your own system is ok, but what about your suppliers? The attack on US giant Target was proven to have come via an SME refrigeration supplier. At Aviation Africa we will have the supply chain as well as OEMs and operators. This is the golden opportunity to get together and start taking action.”

The Aviation Africa event takes place at the Intercontinental City Stars on April 17-18 2018 and includes a business-to-business exhibition and opportunities to network with airlines, government and manufacturers/service providers.

Further information can be found at www.aviationafrica.aero

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