Cyber Risk Real for Bizav Operators, Says Collins

 - May 22, 2013, 12:15 PM

Rockwell Collins is warning that there are considerable risks that operators run when hooking up various web-based systems, Wi-Fi, satcoms–in fact anything where they are opening up ways for would-be cyber-attackers. Steve Timm, the company’s v-p and general manager of Flight Information Solutions, told AIN at EBACE that the main risk arises not when the aircraft is en route, but on the ground.

He believes that press reports of things “as serious as flight management systems being hacked into” are not just scare stories, and that the threat is real. In fact he recognizes that many customers already require Rockwell Collins to demonstrate security capabilities, but the company has turned that around by creating a checklist for potential clients, which can then be used by auditors if necessary.

“We have customers that require independent audits of our security methodologies such as with mobile tethering,” he said. “We’ve even had some that have tried to hack into our system…sometimes they don’t even tell us they are doing it. We didn’t see [that sort of thing] five years ago.” He added that nobody has yet successfully breached Rockwell Collins’s cyber-defenses.