The German military’s aviation safety chief has launched a new initiative against cyber threats, citing research that he said shows hackers can commandeer military airplanes with the help of equipment that costs about 5,000 euros ($5,700).
A defense ministry spokesman told Reuters that development of new “aviation cyber expertise” would cover everything from raising awareness about cyber threats to technical research projects and equipping aircraft with protective systems.
The spokesman is quoted as saying that State Secretary Katrin Suder has backed the idea, which Major General Ansgar Rieks, head of the German Military Aviation Authority, proposed in June,
Rieks said last week that he was unnerved by a demonstration by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bavaria showing hackers could take control of an aircraft with inexpensive equipment.
According to Rieks, military officials need to focus not just on potential problems with computer software, but should also work to “ensure that airplanes cannot be taken over from the ground, or possibly by a passenger in the air”.