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State-sponsored entities targeting Airline Industry (Part 1)


State-sponsored entities targeting Airline Industry (Part 1)

Executive Summary

Airlines and the airport industry in general are highly lucrative targets for APT groups; they are rife with information that other countries would find useful.

NETSCOUT data from 2019 shows airport and airline targeting remains strong and steady, with Russian, Chinese, and Iranian APT groups attempting access.

Not only do we see state-sponsored threats targeting the industry, we also see a large amount of DDoS attacks, which we’ll cover in a follow-up blog (Part 2).

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Key Findings:

• Airlines and airports are targeted by APT actors regularly as they possess a wealth of information on people, logistics, business, and intellectual property.

• Airlines and airports are critical infrastructure entities with security concerns that extend far beyond physical security of passengers.

• Substantial theft by APT groups has already occurred; the information now in the hands of adversarial states is concerning.

Airline Industry Targeting

Airlines and airports are targeted by APT actors regularly, although it’s usually the intellectual property theft from airplane manufacturers that gets the most attention.

There are many reasons why the airline industry or airports themselves would be targets of APT:

  1. Logistics of Things

  2. Logistics of Passengers

  3. The Information of Passengers

  4. Business Information

  5. Intellectual Property

  6. Smuggling

  7. Sabotage, Destruction, & Terrorism

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Author - ATLAS Security Engineering & Response Team (ASERT)

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