Airbus CyberSecurity, a unit of Airbus Defense and Space, has joined forces with SITA to launch a cybersecurity initiative specifically targeted at the air transport industry.

The new incident-detection Security Operations Center Services have been customized for the specific needs of the air transport industry to alert airlines, airports, and other stakeholders about unusual cyber activity that could impact their businesses.

Airbus CyberSecurity already works with companies, critical national infrastructures, governments and defense organizations to detect, analyze and counter increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. SITA is developing a new portfolio of cybersecurity products and services to help airlines and airports identify, detect and react to cyber threats.

Airbus CyberSecurity head François Lavaste said: “Air transport is part of the Airbus DNA, so it was only natural that we joined forces with SITA to adapt our innovative cybersecurity solutions to this new service area, which is experiencing exponential growth. Our standard solution mainly combines real-time monitoring services for applications and communications dedicated to air transport and incident response services.”

When requested, the joint Security Operations Center Services will also provide appropriate containment and remedial action to protect a company’s digital assets from attack.

SITA CEO Barbara Dalibard said: “As an industry, we need to move faster in developing new cybersecurity solutions that mitigate the risk of ever-changing threats. This requires constant collaboration and innovation.” Joining forces with Airbus, she said, would facilitate that innovation and information-sharing.

At a European level, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the European Union’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) to establish a European Centre for Cyber Security in Aviation (ECCSA).

The ECCSA will provide information and assistance to European stakeholders across the full spectrum of aviation to help protect critical elements of the system (including aircraft, navigation and surveillance systems, datalinks and airports). It will assist in establishing acceptable levels of protection for the region’s aviation infrastructure from design to decommissioning of aircraft; communication, navigation and surveillance systems; and other critical services necessary to the safety of flight.

In principle, all organizations relevant for the safety and security of European Civil Aviation may apply for ECCSA membership, provided they meet applicable security criteria.  Membership is voluntary and will allow access to intelligence, provided by aviation-related sources, raising awareness of cyberattacks and, on demand, operational means to face cybersecurity threats.

CERT-EU will make available cybersecurity tools and information for the development of ECCSA’s specialized aviation cybersecurity components and services, which will be rolled out in phases to allow progressive implementation of technologies, consolidate operational procedures, and allow a smooth handover of competences from the implementation team to the operational team coping with daily activities.

The initial implementation phase (2017-2018) will include a public website reporting cybersecurity news and ECCSA initiatives, Open Source Intelligence services for members, and a collaboration platform for members to exchange sectorial cybersecurity information.

CERT-EU is made up of IT security experts from the main EU Institutions (including European Commission, General Secretariat of the Council, European Parliament, Committee of the Regions, Economic and Social Committee) tasked with helping those institutions to protect themselves against intentional and malicious attacks that would hamper the integrity of their IT assets and harm the interests of the EU. It cooperates with CERTs in the Member States and beyond as well as with specialized IT security companies.

Anne Paylor