Airlines look to invest in cyber security

Last week we discussed cyber security and the threat that it poses to the aviation industry if airlines fail to tackle it head on.

On Thursday (June 29), travel technology provider SITA released its 2016 Airline IT Trends Survey that stated 9 per cent of airlines now plan to invest in cyber security programmes within the next three years.

The report found that: “more than 60 per cent of airlines place oversight for cyber security at the board level rather than within IT departments, suggesting it is starting to be viewed much more as a business risk” - something that will certainly be music to the ears of the International Air Transport Association, which has been an advocate of cyber security for several years now.

Indeed, airlines are increasingly investing in more ‘passenger first’ services, from mobile apps for smartphones to loyalty programmes, and this has played a big part in encouraging airlines to improve their cyber security, because they now have even more data to look after.

In addition, the industry trend of adopting Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has put a spotlight onto the possible vulnerability of passenger data. Thus, somewhat unsurprisingly so, the report stated that 97 per cent of airlines believe the perceived invasion of passenger privacy is also an IoT challenge.

So, as the industry moves forward and technologies advance, cyber security is definitely proving to be high on the agenda for a large number of airlines.

Nigel Pickford, director of market insight at SITA, explained: “Airlines are investing in areas which will promote a connected world of travel for the benefit of passengers and the workforce.  We see new priorities attracting more investment, with cyber security and electronic flight bag solutions coming to the fore in this year’s research”.

The report also highlighted that 72 per cent of the 200 airline participants are investing in major cyber security projects, with a further 19% engaged in Research & Development (R&D) projects.

Thus, the results showed that most airlines believe that they are now better positioned to deal with potential cyber threats, compared to a few years ago.

In fact, within three years, the number of airlines that believe they are now prepared for the common types of cyber threats has risen by 31 per cent.

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