LABACE Convention News

Satcom Direct Hits Connectivity, Security Concerns

 - August 10, 2019, 9:10 AM

Global onboard connectivity and security solutions provider Satcom Direct arrives at LABACE on the heels of a major expansion of the secure data center at its Melbourne, Florida headquarters, part of an ongoing multi-phase facility build-out. The SD Data Center houses clients’ private networks, enabling business aircraft travelers to meet the same security standards and protocols they do in other secure corporate locations, according to the company.

“We work with the corporate IT department to create a private corporate network on the aircraft that duplicates the kind of protection IT is providing for executives in their homes and offices,” said Satcom Direct International v-p Michael Skou Christensen.

The need for this level of security is increasing, Christensen said. Satcom Direct currently tracks threats aboard some 600 business aircraft subscribing to its cybersecurity threat-monitoring modules and recently reported critical and high-level threats against these aircraft have surged by more than half (54 percent). The attacks appear to come from organized groups such as Fancy Bear and sophisticated, well-known hackers, some hired by nation-states or criminal entities to create chaos or target specific VIPs, the company said. These threats represent activity that can affect default installations such as consumer digital device operating systems, compromising servers and leaving a back door for additional malware including Trojan horses and viruses. The SD Threat monitoring module reports suspicious activity to the aircraft's flight departments and Satcom Direct security experts, while also blocking it.

But common human behavior—such as putting an unknown flash drive in a laptop to check its contents, or clicking on a link in an email that appears to be from an acquaintance—can also threaten security, Christensen noted.

"Eighty 80 to 90 percent of risk in cybersecurity are exploits on that human factor, so we try to educate the flight departments and crew on best practices,” he said.

The connectivity side of cabin technology can sometimes provoke as much fear as the security discussion, given the bewildering number of options in hardware, service plans, coverage areas, and other details customers face. Satcom Direct introduced this year SD Xperience, a program designed to help customers make connectivity choices based on their expectations—not on baud rates, bandwidth, Megabits per second or other technical specifications. The program is based on a “three-pillar” set of solutions addressing the hardware, the connectivity services, and data management.

“At the end of the day, the client doesn’t care what it’s called; they care about what kind of customer experience they’re getting,” said Christensen.

Satcom Direct representatives on hand at LABACE stand ready to answer all attendees’ questions about these important security and connectivity topics.