Event review: Airport Security Conference, Prague

Engaging and inspirational keynote speakers, insightful conversation sessions and a full spectrum of aviation industry stakeholders have marked the International Airport Review’s inaugural Airport Security Conference.

Airport Security 2013, PragueHosted by the Václav Havel Airport in Prague, the event brought focus and clarity to a number of important airport security issues, including cyber threat and the latest in airport security management systems. The two-day get together provided an opportunity to security experts to look at current and future threats, debate best practice, gauge aviation industry opinion and review the most recent changes in regulations of airport security. 

A thread across all expert presentations at the Airport Security Conference was the notable shift from tackling cyber threat as a standalone issue towards treating physical and cyber threat in conjunction. A sophisticated software attack allowing hackers to access internal airport computer systems and manipulate data is no longer seen as unlikely. According to Ms. Jayne Maisey, Head of Regulation Policy and Practice at Birmingham airport, approximately 80% of insider attempts already have a cyber-element and in most cases are pushed by a financial gain. The vulnerabilities stemming from the fast evolving hardware and software technologies adds to the list of primary concerns for airport security.

Dominic Nessi, Deputy Director LA airport, and Dr. John McCarthy, Cyber Research fellow at Cranfield University, and a leading researcher on airport cyber security, confirmed that not only airlines’ websites are being hacked but also navigation systems and airports/airlines/security equipment are threatened by a security breach. Airports, as many other organisations worldwide, are rapidly trying to balance the desire for users to have mobile applications and mobile hardware. This is also an area of concern for pilots when they consider the high degree of automation of their aircrafts and the growing use of tablets replacing their paper-based flight charts and operation manuals. And this brings new security risks along. The Airport Security Conference speakers also highlighted the need to build centralized and integrated security processes and resource management in order to reach (cost-) efficient level of security.

More information about the event and the speakers is available here.