Cyber attacks, drones growing threat to airplane safety, insurer warns
FRANKFURT/BERLIN — Cyber attacks and commercial drones pose a growing risk of commercial airplane crashes, a major insurer said, running counter to a long-term decline in fatal accidents and insurance premiums.
Technical advances in aircraft design and navigation systems have reduced the chance of dying in a plane crash, but the reliance on computers poses new types of risks.
“Cyber terrorism may replace the hijacker and bomber and become the weapon of choice on attacks against the aviation community,” German insurer Allianz said in a review of aviation safety published on Thursday, publicly expressing concerns that others insurer have discussed in private.
The International Air Transport Association has been working to improve cyber security including the launch this year of a toolkit to help airlines assess and mitigate risks in their IT systems.
“Aviation relies on computer systems extensively in ground and flight operations and air traffic management, and we know we are a target,” IATA Director General Tony Tyler said at a conference in October.