Cryptography could protect against cyber attacks

Russian engineers have developed a cryptographic scheme for ensuring the integrity and imitation protection of air navigation infrastructure from cyber attacks.

Research and development business Digital Radio Technical Systems (CRTS) said it is now possible to implement cryptographic schemes to ensure the integrity and imitation protection of information transmitted through 1090ES, including Mode S, based on existing regulatory documents and domestic cryptalgorithms.

Company experts spoke recently on how to overcome cyber threats for air navigation infrastructure at the State Research Institute of Civil Aviation in Moscow.

“The existing regulatory framework for the protection the information infrastructure does not fully reflect the model of the functioning of the Communication-Navigation-Surveillance (CNS) system, which is essentially a set of systems for various purposes. Based on the capabilities we have studied, we intend to develop an industry-specific threat model. It includes the need for open interaction with an aircraft of foreign production, as well as standard information security requirements for systems operating in the interests of the ATC,” said Sergey Bybin, CRTS’ deputy director.

According to Bybin, the necessity to create standard recommendations for implementing of inter-system information exchange is long overdue.

‘We must confess that the information security of civil aviation flights is the Achilles ‘ heel for the industry. Suffice it to recall the incident in Melbourne at the end of last year, when the radio intruder interrupted the landing of the plane, pretending to be an air traffic controller.

“De facto, aviation is vulnerable to unauthorised interference in ‘pilot-controller’ communication. The situation in surveillance and navigation systems also leaves much to be desired. Existing CNS technologies are not capable of independently providing imitating resistance under external influences.

“At this time, the verification of false information is carried out at the level of phraseology. That is why the responsibility of the air traffic controller is high, which, by the speech of the interlocutor, has to detect the attacker. With the introduction of special means, the workload for the controller will be reduced, and the air traffic security and safety will increase substantially.”

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