German military's aviation safety chief has launched a new “aviation cyber expertise” against cyber threats, in the wake of a research that revealed the possibility of hackers taking possession of military airplanes with the help of equipment that costs about 5,000 euros ($5,700).
The new "aviation cyber expertise" development would cover raising consciousness about cyber threats to technical research projects and equipping aircraft with protective systems, a defense ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by Reuters Friday.
State Secretary Katrin Suder supported the idea, which Major General Ansgar Rieks, head of the German Military Aviation Authority, proposed in a letter in June, the spokesman said.
Rieks last week said he was disheartened by a demonstration by the government-funded German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bavaria. The demonstration showed hackers could take control of an aircraft with low cost equipment.
"That frightens me. I wrote to the state secretary about it and said doing nothing would amount to gross negligence," state secretary said. “The issue was also a vital concern for civil aviation.” He said at a talk at a conference in Bueckeburg, Germany.
Apart from potential problems with computer soft ware, “military officials have to aim on major issues to ensure that airplanes cannot be taken over from the ground or possibly by a passenger in the air.” He added.
Germany's military this year launched a new cyber command that groups cyber units from across the military, which will also involved in the new aviation cyber initiative.
Concerns about cyber attacks on aircraft and in the broader aviation sector have grown sharply in recent years with a growing barrage of attacks and breaches against other sectors.