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UAE GCAA to host ICAO Cyber Summit & Exhibition 2017

Posted 4 April 2017 · Add Comment

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is hosting the ICAO Cyber Summit & Exhibition 2017 with the theme “Making sense of cyber – security, safety and resilience” 4-6 April 2017, at Westin Hotel, Al Habtoor City in Dubai, UAE, gathering more than 80 Nations and more than 500 registered participants.

The forum, convened by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), will discuss current and future cyber risks, and will be the foundation stone of the 39th ICAO Assembly Resolution A39-19: “Addressing Cyber Security in Civil Aviation” adopted in October 2016. The objective is to establish the fundamentals for a strong collaborative response to the proliferation of cyber-attacks affecting the civil aviation system.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the UAE GCAA, said: “The scope and size of the aviation industry means that all stakeholders must continue to work together to protect the industry. The cyber threats go beyond any country’s geographical and financial borders. International cooperation is key and the one and only way forward.” 

Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council, said: “Almost daily, new and more sophisticated digital technologies and processes are coming online, and impacting as they do the function of our network, its relationships with customers and stakeholders, and even the way that air transport professionals connect and cooperate with one another. Our traditional first responders in aviation, pilots and air traffic controllers, must have the training and capabilities they need to recognise and respond to cyber-attacks and effectively intervene in case of system failures.” 

The summit, which is the first high-level platform of its kind, will address challenges to aviation resulting from cyber threats. The first day will be dedicated to workshops where participants have the opportunity to interact with industry professionals to gain hands-on knowledge of cyber issues. The two-day Summit will kick off on 5 April and will emphasize on the key areas of current and emerging aviation cyber threats and risks, response and enforcement, management systems as well as cyber information sharing to build a cyber resilient total aviation ecosystem. The event will be attended by States, international aviation industry leaders, partners and key players as well as stakeholders and experts in the field of cyber security. 

Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the UAE GCAA, said: “Aviation is an international transport system and also one of the safest means of transportation. Staying ahead of evolving cyber threats is a shared responsibility, involving governments, airlines, airports, and manufacturers. Hosting this summit and creating a forum with a collaborative platform is of high importance to the UAE and the entire international aviation industry” 

Al Suwaidi continued: “Sharing knowledge and gaining full understanding of potential risks in order to close vulnerable gaps is of utmost importance. Maintaining the safety and security of the aviation industry is critical to allow growth and development of the industry. Any breach in the cyber management system puts the entire industry at risk.” 

The Summit will also be supplemented by an exhibition area presenting a variety of entities involved in the field of cyber and aviation including government entities, international companies, manufacturers, service providers, amongst others to demonstrate a variety of solutions, e.g. technological, consulting, or training to help counter-attacking cyber-threats and hence building a cyber-resilience capacity.

The number of intentional cyber incidents and attacks has been growing over the last few years, which is an indication that the aviation industry is vulnerable and will face more advanced challenges. At UAE GCAA, one of the aims in regards to cyber threats is collaboration to increase awareness among all stakeholders. 

Ismaeil Al Blooshi, UAE GCAA assistant director General of Aviation Safety Affairs, said: “Aviation safety and security are inherent parts of aviation culture. To adopt a collaborative approach, carrying out relentless examinations of current and upcoming systems as well as setting goals are vital to strengthen the aviation system’s resilience against cyber attacks. Participation of prominent experts and speakers, and getting stakeholders across several industries from all over the world together under one umbrella is both imperative and noteworthy.”

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