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Cyber Attacks On Aircraft


Cyber attacks on commercial airliners have already occurred. "There have been hacks of aircraft and aviation-related systems, including in-flight entertainment systems, data communications between pilots and ground-based controllers, and airline operations systems that in one case in Europe caused flight cancellations," says Alan Pellegrini, president and CEO of Thales USA. “...there are many specifications that we get for systems to put on aircraft that don’t have well-established security requirements...I think as an industry we could collectively do more.” Thales designs, develops and manufactures electronic systems used in aircraft cockpits and cabins, transportation systems and weapons systems. The company also provides cybersecurity capabilities to its customers.

I've long thought that where there's someone trying to hack a system, they will succeed given enough time and money behind them. We're talking about the same state sponsored cyber warfare described in my latest thriller, Man of Honor where the Chinese PLA's infamous Unit 61398, the cyber warfare division, succeeds in hacking into US transport computers. Airliners begin falling from the sky. When I wrote this book, I hoped such acts of cyber terrorism were figments of my imagination--that the airline manufactures are smarter than the hackers. It seems that Mr. Pellegrini doesn't think the aircraft manufacturing industry is doing all it can to stave off what some see as the inevitable and what Man of Honor describes as nothing short of horrific.

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