The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has shifted its official Year of Security Culture from 2020 to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The body notes this year is particularly significant for aviation security as it marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
ICAO cites new and emerging threats as aviation infrastructure increasingly relies on digital technology, not only in flight, but at airports, air traffic control facilities and international security checkpoints around the world. Dr. Fang Liu, ICAO’s Secretary General, said, “This digital penetration will only increase with time, especially considering the continuous innovation being seen in communications and applications, and the advent of new airspace users such as drones and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.” She spoke at the virtual launch of the World Economic Forum’s study titled “Pathways to a Cyber Resilient Aviation Industry.”
The study cited the following barriers to cybersecurity in aviation: under-investment in cyber resilience capabilities, increased complexity of the value chain with ambiguous accountability, fragmented approach at governance and policy levels, and lack of visibility and transparency across the supply chain.
The coalition of aviation stakeholders and the ICAO Assembly called for a Cybersecurity Action Plan that consists of the following: developing and agreeing on a comprehensive cybersecurity vision; working toward a common baseline for cybersecurity standards and recommended practices; making cybersecurity a part of aviation security and safety systems; developing and implementing a range of risk-assessment methodologies; establishing information-sharing platforms for prevention, early detection and mitigation of cybersecurity threats; monitoring the qualifications of personnel in both aviation and cybersecurity; and increasing overall awareness about cybersecurity issues.