Commercial aviation and power grids are crucial to our national infrastructure and risks involving them have increased drastically. That is exactly why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has decided to revamp their efforts to protect the electronic systems of old and new airliners. This program is a coalition between the DHS, the Pentagon, and the Department of Transportation to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with airliners. “There are many risks in aviation beyond looking at the aircraft. It’s very important to be looking at the whole ecosystem and identifying key points where a digital system, if it were to malfunction, could cause a bad day for a lot of people,” stated the President of the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center, Jeffrey Troy. Tests on all electrical systems used in commercial aircrafts will be analyzed and the department has already spent $10 million on these efforts. The DHS has even purchased a 2016 Boeing 757 and plans on running around 15 tests on the aircraft.
As the threat landscape is always changing, it is important to note that government agencies and departments, including DHS are making efforts to better protect the public from emerging threats and vulnerabilities. Coalitions and partnerships between private industry and the government are especially important to achieve the best results for public safety. The government can provide funding and motivation to research and implement new safety systems, but without the expertise and technical resources of private industry, even the best-funded research efforts would not be effective.