Aviation security experts have alerted the federal government on the new and growing alternative to physical invasion of airport facilities by terrorists, which is cybercrime.
Speaking at the recent breakfast meeting organised by Aviation Round Table (ART) in Lagos, an expert in Cyber Security, Ifeanyi Ogochukwu, who delivered a speech on Cyber Security and Hacking of Civil Aviation System by Terrorists, said this is a new area where terrorists are exploring all possibilities to do maximum damage on air transport system.
He expressed regret that Nigeria is not even planning to do anything to counter threats pose by it because the country is yet to grasp the danger and enormity of cybercrime, which needs an entirely different security apparatus to fight.
He said aviation has changed because airlines, passengers and agencies alike now use technologies because they want to maximise their time, make it easy to issue tickets, facilitate passengers and minimise physical procedures in air transport services. So terrorists are taking advantage of these and noted that technology while improving life has constituted another problem; for example, the drone that is used to gather information, map large areas and do so many valuable things could be used by unscrupulous persons to attack airports.
Ogochukwu said terrorists are even now well advanced in technology than we expect and are tapping at the tech advances in aircraft development because aircraft are highly information technology based, as “any passenger can connect to the cockpit from the cabin using advanced technology.”
“Unfortunately, two months ago there was Cyber security attack but nothing was said about it in Nigeria’s aviation, no agency at the airport is actually talking about cyber security, it is an emerging threat, it is a major threat and risk to aviation and I wonder if our aeronautical Information Services (AIS) is cyber security protected because there are insider threats, cyber security threat is real, it is not a question of where it exists, it is a question of when will it happen”, he said.
He said there is immediate need to establish a separate agency that takes care of Cyber security, adding that an intervention team should also be put in place.
The security expert recommended that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) should embark on education and awareness on the threat, develop a plan and compel other agencies to comply with it.
“This is an area we need to protect because aviation is adopting high technology, airlines are consolidating their systems, aviation is now a shared system, there are so many areas that are prone to hacking, the Automated Data Surveillance Broadcast (ADSB) is vulnerable, wrong information can be inputted into the system but how much awareness are we creating on this”, added.