A systemic approach to understanding and addressing the potential risks of cyber security is critical given the rapidly evolving applications of technology, a conference in Singapore heard.

Speaking at the Civil Aviation Cyber Security Conference, Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said that the increasing threat necessitates adopting a holistic strategy that includes airlines’ IT infrastructure as well as that of the industry’s partners.

“Cyber-attacks are a fact of modern life,” he noted. “But aviation presents a special target for those who seek to damage or disrupt the integrated air transport network upon which the global economy depends.”

Partnership with governments will be crucial, he said. “Governments have resources and access to intelligence that the private sector can never achieve. They also have a responsibility to use these resources to support industry efforts. We have an example of this approach in the decades of successful government-industry cooperation on safety.

“Governments need to adopt threat-based, risk-managed and outcome-focused frameworks that are balanced against industry capabilities and sustainability,” Tyler continued. “This is a much better way to address evolving threats than prescriptive measures that are not able to adapt to the constantly shifting cyber arena.”