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Sita calls on aviation industry to invest more in cybersecurity

Sita has called on the air transport industry to do more to combat the growing risk of cybersecurity threats.

In its latest cybersecurity insights report, the technology provider states that 44% of airports and airlines have a formal information security strategy, while 48% are expected to by 2021.

"The growing risk is well acknowledged in the air transport industry, and spending on cybersecurity is increasing year on year. Yet a lack of resources tight budgets and missing skills remain the key barriers for advancing cybersecurity protection," says Sita's president of Asia Pacific, Sumesh Patel.

Sita also observes that the most common spending priorities for safeguards today are on employee awareness and training, achieving regulatory compliance and identity and access management.

Last year, airports globally spent 12% of their IT budgets on cybersecurity, two percentage points higher than the year before. Similarly, the proportion of IT budget spent on cybersecurity by airlines rose from 7% to 9%.

It adds that the air transport industry's "immediate priority" is the implementation of security operations centres. Around one-third of companies surveyed have those centres in place, while 47% of them plan to have such an investment in 2021.

Cybersecurity has been seen as a growing risk for airlines, and recently two major Asian carriers have disclosed breaches of passenger data.

In October, Cathay Pacific revealed that the personal data of 9.4 million passengers had been breached. Cathay has spent over HK$1 billion ($128 million) on IT infrastructure and security over the past three years and says that it will grow its team of IT security specialists.

That was followed in January by a data breach at Singapore Airlines’ loyalty programme that exposed the details of 285 members.

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