Poland on Wednesday agreed to test a cybersecurity pilot program for the aviation sector as Europe’s EASA civil aviation authority tackles the potential threats posed by hackers to air traffic.
“We want to have a single point in the air transport sector that will coordinate all cybersecurity activities… for airlines, airports and air traffic,” Piotr Samson, head of Poland’s ULC civil aviation authority, said in Krakow, southern Poland, at a two-day conference co-hosted with the EASA.
While insisting that air travel is currently safe from cyber attacks, EASA executive director Patrick Ky told AFP it was incumbent on aviation authorities to take preventative measures to mitigate potential cyber-threats.
Polish officials attending the “Cybersecurity in Civil Aviation” conference also announced the creation of a “rapid reaction unit” for cybersecurity incidents.
Despite the assurances of experts in the field, computer systems failures triggered by hackers or accident have caused flight chaos in recent years.
Poland’s flagship carrier LOT was briefly forced to suspend operations in June 2015 after a hack attack.
The airline’s spokesman described the incident as the “first attack of its kind”.
Thousands of British Airways passengers faced chaos in May as the airline was forced to cancel more than a hundred flights from London’s Heathrow Airport following an IT system failure.
BA officials ruled out a cyber-attack, pointing instead to a power supply issue.