ICAO formalises declaration to tackle threat of cybersecurity attacks

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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has formalised a new Dubai Declaration – which it says will “ensure global aviation remains united, proactive on cyber security preparedness”.

President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, explains it signifies the “commitment and unity of the air transport sector towards achieving effective cyber resilience”.

The new Dubai Declaration was presented to President Aliu during a ceremony at the UN agency’s inaugural Cyber Summit and Exhibition in Dubai, from 4-6 April in partnership with the General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates.

Aliu explains: “New and more sophisticated digital technologies and processes are coming online daily it seems, impacting as they do our network and its relationships with shippers and the travelling public.

“What this means for cybersecurity and cybersafety stakeholders is that threats are emerging at an ever-increasing rate.”

He also notes civil aviation should continue to appreciate and reinforce the inherent mitigation capabilities of pilots and air traffic controllers, aviation’s traditional ‘first responders’, and highlighted the sector’s increasing connectivity to external networks, and the use of public communication infrastructure for transmitting data and exchanging information, represent further risks which must be carefully managed.

Aliu says: “The basic interconnectedness we have all grown accustomed to in our day-to-day digital lives is now also a basic characteristic of on-board and ground-based aviation systems.

“This makes them potentially vulnerable to outside cyber-attack, and  explains why the logical or physical segregation of safety critical systems is a crucial first step for global aviation.”

ICAO says conclusions from the ICAO/UAE Summit will help to establish near-term prioritisation of suitable back-up systems and procedures, cyber resilience steps, and security overlays, in addition to the more intensive collaboration needed and clarity on roles and responsibilities.