The software of Western aircraft such as the F-35, the new prize in the Israel, US and other air forces, can be hacked by certain adversaries, but adapted hardware can be installed that can’t be hacked, IMI Systems cyber director Maj. (res.) Oren Bratt said at a cyber conference in Latrun, west of Jerusalem, on Thursday.
Bratt screened television footage of South Korean officials expressing concerned about their country’s purchase of the F-35 fifth-generation combat aircraft, due to its vulnerability to hackers, and asked to the audience rhetorically, “Now that you have heard this, is anyone still ready to get into that airplane?”
His message was that cyber risks such as the recent worldwide ransomware attack were small beans compared to cyber threats that endanger human life and could occur at any moment.
He said “that networks are vulnerable and IT supports most critical systems – we know this,” but the “cyber super effect is about to happen,” when cyber hacking will “create chaos by interrupting life-support systems.”
At that point, the phrase “No one died from it is not true anymore,” and any “system can harm the user by malfunctioning,” Bratt said.
The solution for both aircraft and other systems which, if hacked, could lead to deaths, is to design the hardware to function even in the event of a successful hack, he said.
For aircraft, this means installing an engine that the software in the jet cannot turn off. Bratt said the key was designing hardware that will work even if software malfunctions because of a defect or a cyber attack. (end of excerpt)
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