Why Airbus needs to be cautious about its cybersecurity. Source: Shutterstock

Why Airbus needs to be cautious about its cybersecurity. Source: Shutterstock

Why the Airbus hack alarms businesses and consumers everywhere

HACKERS are constantly trying to breach corporate networks across the world, exploiting vulnerabilities and gain from lapses and weaknesses in company firewalls.

And although there dozens of high-profile cyber incidents (reported and unreported) every year — people take notice when it happens to a company like Airbus — and for good reason.

Airbus is one of two leading companies in the world supplying aircraft to airlines and corporations across the world. Most of these new-age transport vehicles are equipped with onboard computers that are constantly connected to the manufacturer’s systems.

A successful hack at Airbus, to the average business and consumer, puts a question mark on the safety of such aircraft.

To be very clear, the cyber incident at Airbus has nothing to do the company’s aircraft or systems.

“The information we have is not enough to make that assessment,” Monash University Associate Professor Koksheik Wong told Tech Wire Asia.

According to a statement issued by the company, Airbus detected a cyber incident on Airbus “Commercial Aircraft business” information systems, which resulted in unauthorized access to data.

The company has explicitly said that there has been no impact on Airbus’ commercial operations.

Airbus has also stated that the incident is being thoroughly investigated by experts who have taken immediate and appropriate actions to reinforce existing security measures and to mitigate its potential impact.

Although the company’s initial assessment shows that some personal data was accessed, the statement mentioned that investigations are ongoing to understand if any specific data was targeted.

The personal data exposed is “mostly professional contact and IT identification details of some Airbus employees in Europe” said the statement.

“If only contact info or personal info has been compromised, then it is not too bad,” opined Wong.

The company has said that it is in contact with the relevant regulatory authorities and the data protection authorities pursuant to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

The brief statement by the company didn’t provide too many details, but it is expected that the company will provide more information — to employees and stakeholders — once the investigation has been completed.

For now, safety of Airbus aircraft on runways and in the sky is not a concern at all. However, it is a warning sign that even the most sophisticated businesses need to really focus on protecting their corporate networks and systems.