Report marks the first-ever global stakeholder survey on addressing cybersecurity issues in aviation sector

WASHINGTON, DC – December 11, 2019 Today, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, launched a new report titled “Aviation Cybersecurity: Scoping the Challenge” and the results of the first-ever global survey on aviation cybersecurity. The report will be celebrated with a public launch and discussion led by Pete Cooper, report author and Senior Fellow with the Cyber Statecraft Initiative, and featuring insights from Alan Pellegrini, CEO of Thales North America and Atlantic Council Board Director, and Dr. Will Roper, U.S. Air Force Assistant Secretary for Acquisition Technology and Logistics.

The Atlantic Council’s aviation cybersecurity programming was first developed in 2017 in an effort to understand and develop actionable recommendations for the complex cybersecurity challenges the aviation sector faces. The report’s findings come at a time when the aviation ecosystem as a whole is becoming increasingly integrated and digitized. International stakeholders such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are seeking a concerted, whole of sector approach to better understand the cyber vulnerabilities within this ecosystem and to ensure that no country is left behind when it comes to maintaining safety, security, and resiliency.

The survey was among the first of its kind, mapping the diverse perspectives across the globe on cybersecurity in aviation. Based on the survey’s findings, the report highlights the need for global standards for aviation cybersecurity, increased transparency and trust between stakeholders, and a focus on the passenger safety at the center of this industry.

The report author, Pete Cooper, is also the CEO of Pavisade, and has advised on cyber strategy across multiple sectors, including aviation. The report leverages his experience as a former fast jet pilot in the Royal Air Force and in leading strategic cyber operations in the UK Ministry of Defence.

“Two years ago, in the first report, Finding Lift, Minimizing Drag, it became clear that on the topic of aviation cyber security, the diversity of perspectives matched the diversity of stakeholders, and that risk perception varied widely,” said Pete Cooper. “Thanks to a huge range of contributors, this report gathers the perspectives of these different stakeholders, asks key questions the sector faces, and explores the scope of the current challenge. What is clear is that, like many other sectors, the aviation sector faces a significant cyber security challenge, the nature and scope of which is only now becoming apparent. But the significant milestones of the new ICAO Aviation Cyber Security Strategy, international initiatives, and increased information sharing and dialogue show that positive change is happening.  Accelerating this progress globally, strengthening security and resilience, will not only take leadership, strategy, and vision but also collaboration and building bridges across all stakeholder groups.”

Alan Pellegrini, Thales North American CEO and Atlantic Council Board Director, said, “While the aviation industry has reaped the benefits of digitization, we have to acknowledge the corresponding new risks, including social and technical vulnerabilities never before addressed. By broadening the community of stakeholders examining cybersecurity in aviation, we will increase our collective security, safety, and resilience. Thales is proud to support this work to preserve the trust of travelers and work toward a holistic understanding of aviation cyber risk.”

The report is available for download. For media inquiries, please email  Follow the conversation online using #AviationCyber.


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