Report Launch: Aviation Cybersecurity–Finding Lift, Minimizing Drag

On November 7, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative launched its first-ever report on Aviation Cybersecurity—Finding Lift, Minimizing Drag, underwritten by Thales. The event featured a keynote by Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at the US Department of Homeland Security. Opening remarks were provided by The Hon. Jane Holl Lute, CEO of SICPA North America, former deputy secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security and Atlantic Council Board Director, as well as Alan Pellegrini, CEO of Thales North America and Atlantic Council Board Director.

In an increasingly connected aviation ecosystem, the ever-expanding and complex cybersecurity issues that affect aviation stakeholders are immense. The launch convened a group of leading aviation industry and cybersecurity experts that discussed the report’s key findings and examined the threats, vulnerabilities and potential solutions. Panelists included Pete Cooper, author of the report and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative; Christian Espinosa, white hat hacker and CEO of Alpine Security; Steve Luczynski, former deputy director of cyber plans and operations at the Office of the Secretary of Defense; David Silver, vice president of civil aviation at the Aerospace Industries Association and Elizabeth Wharton, senior assistant city attorney for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The aviation industry faces a critical challenge to get its cyber security right. Increasing numbers of reported vulnerabilities, claims, counter claims and attacks add urgency and an impression of an escalating problem. Each stakeholder involved has a different perspective of the threats, risks and potential solutions, making understanding the landscape difficult. The event also explored the cultural differences between the aviation and cyber security industries to ensure better understanding and help deliver a safe and prosperous aviation industry built on resilient trust and systems.

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Image: (L-R: Jose Pagliery, Elizabeth Wharton, David Silver and Pete Cooper discuss challenges for the aviation industry and policymakers.)