On Perception and Reality in Wireless Air Traffic Communication Security

More than a dozen wireless technologies are used by air traffic communication systems during different flight phases. From a conceptual perspective, all of them are insecure, as security was never part of their design. Recent contributions from academic and hacking communities have exploited this inherent vulnerability to demonstrate attacks on some of these technologies. However, not all of these contributions have resonated widely within aviation circles. At the same time, the security community lacks certain aviation domain knowledge, preventing aviation authorities from giving credence to their findings. In this survey, the authors aim to reconcile the view of the security community and the perspective of aviation professionals concerning the safety of air traffic communication technologies. To achieve this, they first provide a systematization of the applications of wireless technologies upon which civil aviation relies. Based on these applications, they comprehensively analyze vulnerabilities and existing attacks. The authors further survey the existing research on countermeasures and categorize it into approaches that are applicable in the short term and research of secure new technologies deployable in the long term. Since not all of the required aviation knowledge is codified in academic publications, they additionally examine the existing aviation standards and survey 242 international aviation experts. Besides their domain knowledge, the authors also analyze the awareness of members of the aviation community concerning the security of wireless systems and collect their expert opinions on the potential impact of concrete attack scenarios using these technologies.


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01639424
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TLIB, TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 28 2017 2:38PM