Cyber-Security Challenges in Aviation Industry: A Review of Current and Future Trends
2. A Systematic Literature Review
2.1. Review Methodology
2.1.1. Aim and Objectives
- Survey of cyber-attack incidents in the civil aviation sector over the last 20 years;
- Analysis and review of state-of-the-art cyber-attack trends, threat actors and their motivation;
- Identification of the most common types of attacks and targeted infrastructures;
- Providing cyber-security professionals with information on the current and future trends of cyber-attack incidents in the context of the evolution of the civil aviation sector.
2.1.2. Classification and Research Criteria
2.2. Cyber-Threats and Automation in Civil Aviation Industry
2.3. Threat Actors and Their Motivations
3. Documented Cyber-Attacks in Aviation Industry (2001–2021)
Analysis and Critical Reviews of Cyber-Attacks in the Civil Aviation Industry
4. Cyber-Attack Surfaces and Vulnerabilities in the Civil Aviation Industry
4.1. Aerospace and Avionic Systems
4.1.1. Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS)
4.1.2. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)
4.2. Electronic Flight Bag
4.3. Attack Surfaces in the Civil Aviation Industry
5. Mitigation of Cyber-Security Challenges within the Civil Aviation Industry
6. The Future Civil Aviation Industry and Its Cyber-Security Challenges
6.1. Smart Airports
6.2. E-Enabled Aircraft
|IoT||||Network mapping attack/implementation of profiling module (training and testing algorithm)||TestStad/Machine Learning Algorithm|
|||Discrete-time Markov chain model (DTMC): Analysing the capacity of the block chain||Block mining algorithm and Ethereum protocol|
|||Manual test: Analysis and attacks of each device, Automated test: process testing of different IoT device||Open-Source MS|
|||DoS massif traffic/Transfer Data/Abnormal code/System crash||DTM by Triangle Micro Works|
|||Real-world attack scenarios: internal and external network attacks||SDN/network function virtualisation|
|||Anomaly intrusion/attacks traffic||Machine learning algorithm/feature extraction|
|||Command injection attack||Machine learning algorithm/PLC programming by Ladder language|
|||SWaT/WADI datasets: Normal and attack scenario||Machine learning algorithm|
|||Man-in-the-middle attack||SDN /Python|
|||LAUP algorithm(authentication)/key distribution test||COOJA simulator|
|Smart Grid||||Offline co-simulation Test-bed: DoS/FDI attacks||OMNET++|
|||Access to communication link () attack model||OPAL-RT|
|||Deep packet inspection||Software-Defined Networks/OpenFMB|
|||Power supply interruption Attack/Physical damage attack||Real world power system/Machine learning|
|||MMS/GOOSE/SV implementation||IEC 61850 Protocol/Ethernet RaspberryPi 3B+|
|||HIL simulation/proof-of-concept validation||Python|
|||DoS/Man in the middle attacks/TCP SYN Flood Attack||DeterLab/Security Experimentation EnviRonment (SEER)|
|||Recording network traffic/poisoning attack||Real-Time Digital Simulator (RTDS)|
|||Timing Intrusion Attack||Field End-to-End Calibrator/Gold PMU|
|||Test of cyber-physical sensor: IREST||Idaho CPS SCADA Cybersecurity (ISAAC) testbed|
|||MITM attack/DoS attack||Open-source software/Raspberry Pis. FLEP-SGS|
|Cloud||||Flood malicious traffic (ICMP/HTTP/SYN)||VMware Esxi hypervisor/A vCenter server/VMs|
|||Considering small messages (about1–2 KBytes): Fast filling of the buffers||MOM4Cloud architectural model.|
|||UNM database: Malicious tracing logs||KVM2.6.27 hypervisor/Python3.4|
|||Test of memory usage before or after instance creation||OpenStack: Open-Source cloud operating system|
|||Evaluation of performance metrics of NDN/edge cloud computing||Cloud VM|
|||Adding defaults: broken interconnection/abnormal extruder||MTComm: Online Machine Tool Communication|
|||Side-channel attacks/stealthy data exfiltration||DHCP server/TFTP Server/HTTP Server/MQTT Server|
|||SQL Injection attack||OpenStack implementation/Python|
|||Testing traffic scenarios||Openflow controller/OpenvSwitch/Network virtualization agent|
|||Time-inference attacks||Software-Defined Network|
|||DDoS attack||OpenStack environment|
8. Open Challenges and Research Opportunities
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|C||||2003||Slammer Worm attack||OTR||USA||One of the FAA’s administrative servers was compromised through a slammer worm attack. Internet services were shut down in some parts of Asia as a result of this attack and this slowed down connections worldwide.|
|A||||2006||Cyber-Attack||OTR||Alaska, USA||Two separate attacks on US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) internet services that forced it to shut down some of its air traffic control systems.|
|C||||2008||Malicious hacking attack||OTR||Oklahoma, USA||Hackers stole the administrative password of FAA’s interconnected networks when they took control of their system. By gaining access to the domain controller in the Western Pacific region, they were able to access more than 40,000 login credentials used to control part of the FAA’s mission-support network.|
|C||||2009||Malicious hacking attack||OTR||USA||A malicious hacking attack on FAA’s computer, through which hackers gained access to personal information of 48,000 current and former FAA employees.|
|C||||2013||Malware attack||OTR||Istanbul, Turkey||Shutting down of passport control system at the departure terminals of Istanbul Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen airports due to a malware attack, leading to the delay of many flights.|
|C||||2013||Hacking and phishing attacks||OTR||USA||Malicious hacking and phishing attacks that targeted about 75 airports. These major cyber-attacks were alleged to have been carried out by an undisclosed nation-state that sought to breach US commercial aviation networks.|
|A||||2015||DDoS attack||OTR||Poland||A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack by cyber-criminals that affected LOT Polish Airlines flight-plan IT Network systems at the Warsaw Chopin airport. The attack rendered LOT’s system computers unable to send flight plans to the aircraft, thus grounding at least 10 flights, leaving about 1400 passengers stranded.|
|I||||2016||Hacking, phishing attacks||OTR||Vietnam||The defacement of a website belonging to Vietnam airlines and flight information screens at Ho Chi Minh City and the capital, Hanoi, displaying messages supportive of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea by Pro-Beijing hackers.|
|A||||2016||Cyber-attack||OTR||Boryspil, Ukraine||A malware attack was detected in a computer in the IT network of Kyiv’s main airport, which includes the airport’s air traffic control system.|
|A||||2017||Human error||OTR||United Kingdom||British flag-carrier computer systems failure caused by disconnection and re-connection of the data-center power supply by a contracted engineer. This accident left about 75,000 passengers of British Airways stranded.|
|C||||2018||Data breach||OTR||Hong Kong||Cathay Pacific Airways data breach of about 9.4 million customers’ personal identifiable information.|
|C||||2018||Data breach||OTR||United Kingdom||British Airways Data breach of about 380,000 customers’ personal identifiable information.|
|C||||2018||Data breach||OTR||USA||Delta Air Lines Inc. and Sears Departmental stores reported a data breach of about 100,000 customers’ payment information through a third party.|
|A||||2018||Ransomware attack||OTR||Bristol Airport, UK||An attack on electronic flight information screens at Bristol Airport. This resulted in the screen being taken offline and replaced with whiteboard information. There was no known adverse effect from this attack.|
|C||||2018||Mobile app data breach||OTR||Air Canada, Canada||Air Canada reported a mobile app data breach affecting the personal data of 20,000 people.|
|C||||2018||Data breach||OTR||Washington DC, USA||Data breach on a NASA server that led to possible compromise of stored personally identifiable information (PII) of employees on 23 October 2018.|
|C||||2018||Ransomware attack||OTR||Chicago, USA||Boeing was hit by the WannaCry computer virus, but the attack was reported to have minimal damage to the company’s internal systems.|
|A||||2018||Cyber-attack||TP||Sweden||Cyber-attack launched by Russian APT group (APT28) that blocked Sweden’s air traffic control capabilities, grounding hundreds of flights over a 5-day period.|
|A||||2019||Bot attacks||OTR||Ben Gurion Airport, Israel||About 3 million bots attacks were blocked in a day by Israel’s airport authority, as they attempted to breach airport systems.|
|C||||2019||Cyber-Incident||OTR||Toulouse, France||A cyber incident that resulted in unauthorised access to Airbus “Commercial Aircraft business” information systems. There was no known impact according to the report on Airbus’ commercial operations.|
|C||||2019||Ransomware attack||OTR||Albany, USA||Albany International Airport experienced a ransomware attack on Christmas of 2019. The attackers successfully encrypted the entire database of the airport forcing the authorities to pay a ransom in exchange of the decryption key to a threat actor.|
|C||||2019||Crypto mining Malware infection||OTR||Europe||Cyberbit researchers discovered through their security software, known as EDR, a network infection of more than 50% of the European airport workstations by a cryptocurrency mining malware.|
|C||||2019||Phishing attack||OTR||New Zealand||A phishing attack targeted at Air New Zealand Airpoints customers. This attack compromised the personal information of approximately 112,000 customers, with names, details and Airpoints numbers among the data exposed.|
|C||||2020||Ransomware attack||OTR||Denver, USA||A cyber-incident that involved the attacker accessing and stealing company data, which were later leaked online.|
|C||||2020||Ransomware attack||OTR||San Antonio, USA||Data breach suffered by ST Engineering’s aerospace subsidiary in the USA that later lead to a ransomware attack by Maze Cyber-criminal.|
|I||||2021||Software Error||OTR||Birmingham, United Kingdom||A software error in the IT system that could not recognise mass discrepancies between loadsheet and the flight plan, leading to the aircraft having 1606 kg more take-off mass than required.|
|Year||No. of Persons Affected||Airports Shut Down||Lost Flight Hours|
|2003||Not Provided||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|2006||Not Provided||2||Not Provided|
|2008||40,000||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|2009||48,000||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|2013||Not Provided||77||Not Provided|
|2015||1400||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|2016||Not Provided||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|2017||75,000||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|2019||112,000||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|2020||Not Provided||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|C,I||||SATCOM terminals||Consistent patching and software updates, phasing out existing legacy encryption as soon as practicable and following current recommendations on the use of cryptographic algorithms and network protocols.||SATCOM terminals can be exploited through some design flaws in areas such as hardcoded credentials, insecure protocol, weak encryption algorithms.|
|C,I||[55,56]||Aerospace systems||Consistent patching of OS, phasing out existing legacy encryption as soon as practicable and following current recommendations on the use of cryptographic algorithms.||Attackers, based on skill level, can exploit issues with integration of OS in embedded systems, such as in OS kernel, context switching, protection mechanisms.|
|C,I||[65,66]||ACARS||Phasing out existing legacy encryption as soon as practicable and following current recommendations on the use of cryptographic algorithms and established policy measures.||The ACARS communication channel is susceptible to eavesdropping and privacy breach.|
|C,I||||ADS-B||Phasing out existing legacy encryption as soon as practicable and following current recommendations on the use of cryptographic algorithms.||The ADS-B communication channel is prone to eavesdropping, jamming attacks, message injection, deletion and modification.|
|C,I||[62,63]||AWN||Phasing out existing legacy encryption as soon as practicable and following current recommendations on the use of cryptographic algorithms.||The Wireless Avionic Network communication channel is prone to data integrity problems such as data assurance, reliability and security.|
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Ukwandu, E.; Ben-Farah, M.A.; Hindy, H.; Bures, M.; Atkinson, R.; Tachtatzis, C.; Andonovic, I.; Bellekens, X. Cyber-Security Challenges in Aviation Industry: A Review of Current and Future Trends. Information 2022, 13, 146. https://doi.org/10.3390/info13030146
Ukwandu E, Ben-Farah MA, Hindy H, Bures M, Atkinson R, Tachtatzis C, Andonovic I, Bellekens X. Cyber-Security Challenges in Aviation Industry: A Review of Current and Future Trends. Information. 2022; 13(3):146. https://doi.org/10.3390/info13030146Chicago/Turabian Style
Ukwandu, Elochukwu, Mohamed Amine Ben-Farah, Hanan Hindy, Miroslav Bures, Robert Atkinson, Christos Tachtatzis, Ivan Andonovic, and Xavier Bellekens. 2022. "Cyber-Security Challenges in Aviation Industry: A Review of Current and Future Trends" Information 13, no. 3: 146. https://doi.org/10.3390/info13030146