SD emphasises importance of cyber security threat monitoring

Black hat hacker goes white hat to demonstrate importance of cyber security
Black hat hacker goes white hat to demonstrate importance of cyber threat monitoring.

Sponsored feature: SD is emphasising just how important it is to safeguard inflight connectivity connections from internet hackers.

The company says that its threat monitoring service for business aviation is seeing an increasing number of hacking and “phishing” attacks that it is able to stop. But it warns that if companies don’t take care with cyber security on their aircraft it could cost them dearly.

At the recent European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, SD hosted presentations with an ethical hacker performing “live” hacks on its booth.

Cory Cardio, a “white hat” hacker demonstrated just how easy it is to capture sensitive identity information from passengers who are not adequately protected from “phishing” exploits.

Cyber Security

Using real-world scenarios, the digital security professional from Shorebreak Security, who works closely on cyber security with SD, showed how simply and quickly fake websites and URLs, that can capture log-in and other information can be produced, without the user even realising.

Cardio said that, given people often use the same ID and password for multiple sites, including personal banking, subsequent personal or corporate hacking was an accident waiting to happen.

“There is software freely available on the internet that can spoof a website in seconds,” Cardio said. “It looks just like the website you expect to see and may even have a URL that looks legitimate. Hackers register domain addresses that look very similar to the one you expect to see.

“Once you have entered your ID and password it records them and directs you to the correct site – you probably won’t even have realised it has happened.”

Hacking software

This ID and password can then be used by the hacker to log on to the legitimate site where they can then go on to collect further information. This type of hack can also lead to “key-board shadowing” giving the hacker details of every key stroke made as the computer is effectively taken over by the hacking software. This gives details not only of ids and passwords but everything the computer owner does, enabling easy identity theft and leading to untold carnage.

Cardio added that with business aircraft carrying high net-worth individuals they could increasingly become the target for hackers. Just knowing the aircraft’s tail number might be the first step towards a hacking attack.

SD's Josh Wheeler.
SD’s Josh Wheeler.

Luckily, SD has a range of solutions that can thwart a hacker’s attempts. Josh Wheeler, who looks after cyber security at SD, said its monitoring service is currently seeing around 800 attempted security incidents a month that are then blocked due to the malicious threat presented to data and devices.

“We have a subscription-based risk mitigation and threat monitoring service where we provide real-time in-flight monitoring of your data traffic that looks out for a host of potential threats,” Wheeler said.

“We can block these threats before they ever reach your airplane, and help you identify the root cause.”

Spoofed addresses

Wheeler explained that SD constantly checks the data going to and from the aircraft and can block outgoing emails that are being sent to spoofed addresses.

But it isn’t just fake emails and websites that are an issue.

“We had a customer using an old version of Adobe Acrobat PDF reader that had been exploited and was a security risk,” Wheeler said. “Our system saw a hacker trying to inject a virus into their computer and blocked it immediately.”

SD’s Private Network also offers the ultimate in aviation cyber security, by routeing data traffic from an aircraft back to the owner’s corporate HQ, keeping it encrypted and without it ever touching the public internet.

SD has also recently enhanced its SDPro® Threat Monitoring module. In addition to existing services, the latest upgrade gives flight departments more visibility into the types of threats identified as well as the ability to view and sort threats by category.

Analysing the type of threat in real time allows customers to apply sorting and filtering features to distinguish between the variety of threats, for example malware, active intrusion and phishing.

Potential vulnerabilities

With this data, flight departments can make better informed connectivity decisions about user behaviours and security policies and stay ahead of any potential vulnerabilities.

SD also offers CyberSAFE, (Securing Assets For End-users) – the industry’s first certified training course which teaches aviation professionals how to avoid cyber security failures.

Delivered in partnership with Logical Operations, the course educates users about technology related risks, compliance considerations, social engineering, and other data-security-related concepts.

Those new to cyber security in aviation can also benefit from SD’s free Cyber Smart Kit. The kit gives real-world scenarios, quick tips, recommended actions and suggests protocols to implement specifically designed for aviation.

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