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The aviation industry is slow in responding to the threat posed by cyber criminality. This, whether it is posed by criminals, terrorists, nation states, or hackers. This, according to Peter Armstrong, head of Cyber Strategy for Willis Group Holdings, the global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker.

According to Home Land Security News Wire, Armstrong explained that the aviation industry’s under-preparedness is noteworthy in a sector that abhors uncertainty and works tirelessly to eradicate it.

Armstrong added that the recent launch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) cyber security framework is a good start. This program is supported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) aviation cyber security tool kit.

However, he warned that regulators, manufacturers, and operators are only now waking up to the pervasive nature of cyber threats. “We remain concerned that cyber risk is not viewed as a significant enabler, amplifier or accelerator of existing risk in the portfolio as well as discrete cyber risk posed for example through use of Cloud technologies.”

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“This is a Board Room issue, representing a sophisticated challenge to sophisticated organizations,” said Armstrong. The umbrella term ’cyber-risk’ refers to many interrelated human, governance and technological issues. It is an expression of the impact that cyber vulnerabilities have upon the portfolio of risks that a business faces.

Such threats are as follows: data protection, business interruption, physical damage, as well as the inability to trade. All these have come under the growing threat of cyber extortion.

“The aviation sector is particularly vulnerable to aggregated risk consequent upon cyber vulnerabilities. This is because there is such heavy reliance upon digital capability and the very high degree of integration in a very sophisticated supply chain. Vulnerability and weakness in any part of the supply chain can have significant impact on the safety and effectiveness of the whole. Also, we have seen it already does have such an impact,” noted Armstrong.