…call for reduction of screening points at airports
By Sade Williams
Aviation experts on Thursday, raised an alarm over the lack of awareness on an emerging security area in aviation, Cyber security, which they said poses a big threat to the sector.
Speaking at the 2016 4th quarter breakfast meeting organised by Aviation Round Table (ART), a non-governmental organisation, Engr. Ifeanyi Ogochukwu, who delivered a speech on :Cyber Security & Hacking of Civil Aviation System by Terrorists, said this is a new area where terrorists are exploring, adding that Nigeria is not even planning to do anything to counter threats pose by it.
He said aviation, which ‘used to be closed has changed because airlines, passengers and agencies alike now use technologies because they want to maximise their time,’, adding that ‘even today, anybody can use drone to attack any airport with the technology is advancing’.
He said terrorists are even now well advanced in technology than we expect, adding that with the the way new aircraft are highly information technology based, ‘any passenger can connect to the cockpit from the cabin using advanced technology’.
“Unfortunately, two months ago was Cyber security month but nothing was said about it in Nigeria’s aviation, no agency at the airport is actually talking about cyber security, it is an emerging threat, it is a major threat and risk to aviation and I wonder if our Aeronautical Information Services is cyber security protected because there are insider threats, cyber security threat is real, it is not a question of if exists, it is a question of when will it happen”, he said.
Ogochukwu said there is immediate need to establish a separate Agency that takes care of Cyber security, adding that an intervention team should also be put in place.
He added that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) should embark on education and awareness on the threat, develop a plan and compel other Agencies to comply with it.
“This is an area we need to protect because aviation is adopting high technology, airlines are consolidating their systems, aviation is now a shared system, there are so many areas that are prone to hacking, the Automated Data Surveillance Broadcast (ADSB) is vulnerable, wrong information can be inputed into the sytem but how much awareness are we creating on this”, added.
Also speaking, John Ojikutu, managing director of Centurion security and secretary General of ART, blamed the NCAA for poroursity in security at airports, adding that the Authority and Airlines should immediately review their security programmes and plans in a bid to stem the tide, especially Stowaway incidents.
Ayo Obilana, managing director, Selective Security Systems and Gbenga Olowo, President, both called for reduction in the number of security screening points at Nigeria’s airports, saying rather than check the system and ease it, the officers contribute to the threats.
“For instance, if there is no good security in Nigeria, tourism will not work, investors will not come, an average traveller goes through about 15 checks at an airport in Nigeria, Nigeria is the only country operating the ‘dash table’ where the security officials ask for money from travellers, the checks can be reduced to 3 effective ones.
“We need to focus on legislation, some of the laws are outdated, they need to be updated, we also need to look at the training to be effective, as well as the equipment, we need to look at insider threats, intensify intelligence gathering”, Obilana said.
However, Dele Ore, former President of ART, bemoaned the absence of NCAA, NAMA and FAAN at the programme, saying that though, ‘we will continue to speak’.