Aerospace Firms Prime Targets for Cyber Crime

 - October 8, 2010, 6:42 AM

Aerospace and defense firms are especially vulnerable to breaches of cyber security, according to a new report from management and information technology (IT) group Accenture. According to Dr. Alastair MacWillson, global managing director of the security practice at Accenture Technology Consulting, companies involved in aviation programs present prime targets for criminal hackers eager to steal assets rich in intellectual property. A high reliance on IT and communications virtual platforms shared with complex supply chains of partners has resulted in a blurring of cyber security boundaries, adding to the sector’s vulnerability, Accenture argues. Aircraft programs increasingly based on clusters of systems integrators has resulted in composite IT systems that are vulnerable to attack at the weakest link in the supply chain, according to the report.

“Despite heavy investment [in IT security] a persistent adversary will get through the most organized defenses,” warned MacWillson. “A degree of paralysis has developed in the face of the growing threat.” In some cases, warns Accenture, the new cyber security threats to aerospace and defense groups are backed by governments or terrorist organizations.

Over and above ensuring good workplace security practices throughout their organizations and those of their key partners, companies need to establish a cyber security road map that gets reviewed constantly with board-level supervision. “Tools are now available that allow companies to use situational awareness and cyber intelligence to sense and predict nascent threats that may soon harm the enterprise,” said MacWillson, concluding, “If your organization is continuing to rely on legacy IT security architectures for managing today’s threats, it is time to act now.” Accenture’s new report is titled Cyber Security in Aerospace and Defense: New Threats and New Strategies.