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Satcom Direct warns of growing cybersecurity threat to business aviation

More than three-quarters of the business aircraft protected by Satcom Direct's cybersecurity solution have been targeted by cyber criminals and attacks are on the increase, underscoring the growing importance of investing in preventative measures.

Satcom Direct says 81% of the 600 business aircraft subscribed to its cybersecurity threat monitoring module experienced a cyber event that was thwarted by the service in the first three months of 2019.

The attempted attacks are not only becoming more common, but also more serious. The aircraft connectivity provider reports a 54% year-on-year increase in critical and high-level threats in the first three months of 2019 compared with the same period last year.

It defines critical threats as having the potential to compromise servers and devices and to leave "the door open for others with malicious intent". High-level threats can cause "serious long-term damage" to corporate networks, through web browser exploitation or malware.

"As aircraft become more connected there is a capability to have bigger file transfers, and there is an opportunity for hackers to pounce on that," David Falberg, Satcom Direct regional director for Europe, tells Flight Evening News.

Attacks are more likely to be carried out by "opportunistic groups" looking to "profiteer" from data that is sent over the cabin network, rather than by individual companies or states. However, Falberg adds that "awareness is growing all the time" among business jet operators of the cybersecurity threats they face.

The Satcom Direct threat monitoring module can be accessed through the SD Pro dashboard. It monitors all inbound and outbound threats, and delivers a real-time in-flight view of the cabin network. Any abnormal network activity is highlighted using a variety of threat analysis and prevention solutions, as well as human expertise, says the company.

"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," warns Satcom Direct senior director of cybersecurity Josh Wheeler.

"Altitude does not make you safe and we are encouraging existing and new customers to be prepared."

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