Airports are (in)famous for their lengthy physical security checks, but how do they rank in terms of cybersecurity? A team of security researchers recently set out
to find out once and for all by assessing the current state of cybersecurity at the world's 100 largest airports. Here's what they found:
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Only 3 Airports Received a Perfect Score
Testing was broken down into 9 categories including things such as web application security, firewall usage, TLS encryption, cloud security, and Dark Web exposure.
While European airports made up only 33% of the total testing (Asian airports made up the largest group with 35%), all three airports that received an A+ score are
currently in the EU. The lucky winners? Amsterdam Schiphol, Helsinki-Vantaa, and Dublin Airports. For the rest of them, we've broken down the results below:
Website and Web Application Security
Nearly a quarter of main websites were found to contain "exploitable and publicly known vulnerabilities," with a further 47% various serious vulnerabilities.
Unfortunately, barely half of the applications were protected by WAF. This reluctance to erect firewalls may be partially driven by the industry's desire to remain
highly accessible to legitimate users. As we've discussed in the past, cybersecurity measures will only become effective once they become usable.
TLS encryption fared slightly better, with 53% of assets receiving an A+. Unfortunately, however, 12% were found to have "no encryption" whatsoever. When subdomains
were included, only 70% received a passing grade.
Interestingly, the airports were more highly exposed across code repositories (such as GitHub or Bitbucket) than on the Dark Web. Fewer than a fifth of the
airports had highly confidential data exposed on the Dark Web, while a full 59% were similarly compromised via code repositories. This comes less than a month
after an Amazon engineer accidentally uploaded nearly a gigabyte of sensitive data to their private GitHub account, revealing passwords and cryptographic keys to
numerous AWS environments. It's no surprise then that airports share similar vulnerabilities.
The following three techniques are proposed to mitigate the cybersecurity risks above:
1) Implement a continuous monitoring tool to detect network anomalies, intrusions, phishing attempts and brute force attacks. Any comprehensive cybersecurity
strategy must incorporate automated tools for 24/7 incident detection. At Silent Breach, we've developed Quantum Armor to provide security teams with a 360°
view of their security posture, every minute of the day.
2) Invest in security training for your personnel. The truth is that IT is only one component of your security strategy. In order for the security team's work to
be effective, it must be backed up with a holistic company-wide awareness to cybersecurity.
3) Implement an external application security program. Two sets of eyes are always better than one and having an expert team of security engineers review your
source code or network configurations will never go to waste. In fact, Silent Breach PenTesters have located serious vulnerabilities in 92% of applications tested
Albany airport in upstate New York recently caught headlines when they paid an undisclosed ransom to hackers just before the new year. But, as the 2020 WEF Report
makes clear, they won't be the last major airport to do so before the end of the year. Unfortunately, cybercrimes against core infrastructure is a real and present
danger that is here to stay. The only question is, how will you prepare for it?