Remote control: the security gap

gary mason, editor, airport focusAirport Focus Editor Gary Mason on this month’s news

Last week the BBC reported that a cyber security professional has told the FBI that he was able to control an aeroplane engine from his seat after hacking the on-board computer system.

Chris Roberts maintains that he carried out his work in the public interest.

Mr Roberts, founder of One World Labs, is an expert in airline system security issues and is now being represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) according to the report.

But the danger of real criminals hacking into aircraft and airport systems is well known. How prepared are the regulators and aviation security professionals for advances in technology which will make more aviation-based systems vulnerable to attack?

Improvements within nano-computing will allow for extremely small electronic devices to be capable of advanced computation. This will enable all types of products to be used for information gathering and processing.

A Europol report published earlier this year warns that advances in nanotechnology and the use of advanced robotics to automate systems and processes will all be vulnerable to criminal exploitation.

Supply chains are likely to become fully automated, with human intervention limited to remote supervision and handling at the origin and destination of transported goods. In response to this development, the theft of cargo may emerge as a profitable cyber crime whichrelies on intrusion into logistics systems and the diversion of goods to the organised crime group.

The report says that the expansion in the use of unmanned vehicles, robotic devices and automation will inevitably raise the issue of whether computers are intelligent agents.

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