As the holidays approach, folks gear up for movie releases and Netflix binge watching. Parallel universes are a hot genre. From “Dr. Strange” to “Stranger Things,” fans are intrigued by villains and super heroes, with their extraordinary powers and weapons. These characters fascinate us as they move between universes. Woven into these stories is the theme of evil coming from a parallel universe, crossing over into the real world and kicking off the battle with the forces of good.
Art imitates life. What was once fiction has become our reality. We make phone calls on our watches or answer the front door from thousands of miles away via a mobile device. Like the Hollywood stories, these capabilities have opened the door for those with malicious intent to creep into our reality and wreak havoc. #Ransomware, destructive #malware, industrial control system takeovers, GPS #spoofing, and many more plots are being hatched in cyber space. How do we push back against these relentless waves of attacks?
In my 25 years as an FBI Special Agent, the biggest cases were solved when we teamed up with international, federal, state, and local agencies. Similarly, the most significant criminal problems were diminished when entire communities worked together to share information and best practices. With our partners, we took down international terror and organized crime groups. In Milwaukee, we participated with the local police department who brought in all the federal, state, and local police agencies to meet with community leaders and set the strategy for how policing could best serve the community. These face-to-face interactions created networks of trusted individuals. Trust led to the communication of best practices, new ideas, and the sharing of leads. Cases were solved and crime problems were reduced.
Cyber attacks against the aviation environment will only be thwarted when we in the aviation industry improve our communications and build stronger, trusting communities. As the Aviation ISAC closes out our third year of operation we are pleased to see the tangible results of how the aviation industry is coming together to reduce the impact of cyber attacks. Our A-ISAC community grew by 50% this year. Our Summit attendance has more than tripled since our first event in the fall of 2015. The A-ISAC membership now includes all segments of the aviation ecosystem: airline, airport, airframe, satellite services, and the supply chain. This is critical as the successful operation of the Aviation industry demands that all stakeholders address the cyber threats in their areas of operation.
Our vetted analyst cadre is a trusted group of talented cyber experts. This year numerous wins were recorded as analysts identified vulnerabilities and active cyber attacks within their own or other organizations. The swift exchange of information reduced the potential impact many cyber attacks could have had upon our industry. Our numerous #tabletop exercises identified security gaps and drove the creation of solutions. The sharing of best practices led to the strengthening of individual companies and the industry.
Every day, our reality and that of the digital world merge closer. We become more dependent on digital solutions to efficiently run our businesses. With these innovations comes increased dependency on technology and the reality that cyber attackers can significantly impact #aviation business operations. We look optimistically toward 2018 as we see our community strengthen and grow, working together to ensure a safe and resilient global aviation network.
Jeff Troy, A-ISAC Executive Director