97% of airports fail at cybersecurity

Security

97 out of 100 of the world’s largest airports have risks that leave them vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks and breaches, new research has found.

Web security firm ImmuniWeb conducted the research after the World Economic Forum (WEF) released the Advancing Cyber Resilience in Aviation: An Industry Analysis report,  that emphasised the need to address cybersecurity challenges in the aviation field.

ImmuniWeb examined the use of cybersecurity, compliance and privacy within the world’s largest airports.

Where are the flaws?

As part of the findings, investigators discovered the areas that airports are leaving themselves open to. These being misconfigurations in the cloud, Dark Web exposure, web and mobile applications and code repositories.

The findings are especially worrying when thinking about how many people pass through airports on a daily basis, the access to public WiFi they have and the information (such as passport details on bookings) that they carry with them.

Key findings

The results revealed that the three most secure airports were Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and Dublin Airport.

Only 3% of airports received an “A+” for cybersecurity protection. Whilst 24 received an “F” grade. The reasons for failures included factors like www. sites using outdated web software (97%), ports not complying with GDPR (76%) and sites containing known exploitable vulnerabilities (24%).

Mobile apps

In terms of mobile application security, of the 36 mobile apps belonging to airports, a massive 530 security and privacy issues were identified.

What’s more, a shocking 100% of mobile applications contain at least 5 external software frameworks along with all of them also containing at least 2 vulnerabilities.

The Dark Web

The web security firm used AI to tech to investigate how the Dark Web was affecting airport security.

Researchers found that 66% of airports are exposed on the dark web in some way or another, with 13 airports being at critical risk of exposures or leaks.

Attacking “Unwitting air hubs”

Ilia Kolochenko, CEO & Founder of ImmuniWeb, comments: “Cybercriminals may well consider attacking the unwitting air hubs to conduct chain attacks of travelers or cargo traffic, as well as aiming attacks at the airports directly to disrupt critical national infrastructure.”

“Today, when our digital infrastructure is extremely intricate and intertwined with numerous third-parties,  holistic visibility of your digital assets and attack surface is pivotal to ensure the success of your cybersecurity program. Without it, all your efforts and spending are unfortunately vain,” He adds.

As for advice on how to reduce the risk, the investigators suggest that continuous security monitoring systems should be implemented. They also say that personnel should be trained in security and risk.

 

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