Cybersecurity in aerospace: “It’s a battlefield”

As aerospace embraces technology to improve efficiency and safety, the risks of cyber-attacks increase. In fact, cybersecurity in aerospace is a “battlefield” and must be approached as such, according to Yurval Galili, of Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. The company is looking to bring the defence domain into cybersecurity.

Rafael has been developing solutions in cyber defence for over two decades.

Galili said: “When we started approaching the international market, we saw that there's too many or a lot of different products and technologies out there, and yet still we see the cyber challenges of our customers intensifying, not reducing. We ask ourselves: Why is that?

“We figured out that the main aspect missing is the holistic concept or holistic approach to this challenge, including in the aviation platforms, transportation platforms, and actually in all different systems. Today, the market is buying and selling products and technologies. We decided on a different paradigm for thinking about cyber solutions. Our thinking is bringing the defence world into the cyber domain.”

Systems of systems

Galili adds: “Today, it's mostly security. When we say defence, it means that we want to build holistic solutions, integrative solutions, combining many different technologies in order to provide a full cyber suite. In the aviation world and in flying platforms and landing systems, you have different kinds of subsystems. Each one of them needs to be protected. You cannot use only one specific technology or one specific product. You need a combination. This combination needs to be fitted to the customer needs, but mostly to their operational goals, what they want to achieve. This is where we come to the picture. This is what Rafael offers to its customers.”

Solutions in Rafael’s portfolio include Cyber Dome. Galili describes it as “a solution built of several layers”.

From proactive to predictive

Instead of a user buying different security assets, aggregating them and in some cases integrating them, and putting in place a cyber command centre to monitor and respond to cyber-attacks, Rafael’s Cyber Dome is a concept “where we protect in different layers of protection all the data centres and data infrastructures that the customer has, all the network infrastructure…all the end points and computing infrastructure,” says Galili.

He adds: “We build a proactive cyber command centre that monitors everything, enabling us to predict in some cases...the cyber-attacks that might [happen].”

It also enables response to attacks in real time, while they’re taking place. Afterwards, experts can forensically analyse what happened.  

“Today, one of the big challenges in the cyber domain is understanding who is doing what,” Galili notes.

He concludes that cybersecurity is “a new battlefield”.

“This battlefield is on the run all the time, behind the scenes. We are not even aware of it,” he says. “[It] must be approached as a battlefield.”

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