Cyber security in aviation: Pinpointing vulnerabilities and finding solutions

Aircraft manufacturing and supply chains have undergone enormous change in the digital age. And yet the technology underlying this development is vulnerable to threats from cyberspace. These complex systems must be strengthened so that they are capable of withstanding cyberattacks. 

Cyber Security

Ramping up defenses

The incidence of cyberattacks has gone up dramatically, with a ten-fold increase since 2009. The critical infrastructure of aviation is particularly vulnerable. That’s why the aerospace industry is boosting defenses and developing solutions for the IT security architecture, especially in the following areas:



The average lifespan of an aircraft is about twenty years. Some aircraft still in use were manufactured during the early days of the internet. How vulnerable are different generations of aircraft to cyberattacks? How can we best defend against threats today – and what defenses will be needed in the future?


Heavily automated systems like drones are likely to become more important in the future. However, a high level of security and trust are paramount in order for the technology to be further developed and deployed. In order to unleash the potential of this new market potentially worth billions, unmanned aerial systems will need to meet high standards in terms of cyber security. Along with that, the aerospace industry is developing a drone defense system intended to prevent the misuse of drones. The relevant technology is already in use at large events.


For the military, satellites provide the crucial infrastructure for secure communications, allowing the armed forces to safely send sensitive information around the world. It’s crucial that satellites are heavily protected against cyberattacks.

Cyber security poses particular challenges for the aerospace and aviation industries as a provider of a critical infrastructure. The sector has an enormous advantage over other industries, however, namely the expertise of developers and engineers who have expertise and years of experience. Industry developments are being closely tracked by other sectors. 


Cyberattacks on the rise

The number of cyberattacks has been rising worldwide for years. In 2014 there were about 40 million, which corresponds to about 117,000 attacks every single day. The aerospace industry is working on solutions to protect critical infrastructure and companies.