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New ThalesRaytheon System Monitors Air-Traffic Radar for Signs of Hacking

Jun. 17, 2014 - 12:41PM   |  
By TOM KINGTON   |   Comments
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Individual RadBox monitoring units like this one operate together to form Cybair Picture Package, which checks for anomalies in air-traffic radar data that could indicate cyber attacks or electronic attacks. / ThalesRaytheon Systems


PARIS — In response to the growing range of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, Thales and Raytheon have launched a product that alerts customers to disruptive hacking of air-traffic radars.

Given its show launch at Eurosatory here, Cybair Picture checks for anomalies in radar data that could indicate cyber attacks or electronic attacks.

Created by Thales and Raytheon’s joint venture ThalesRaytheon Systems, Cybair Picture will spot telltale signs of hacking such as planes flying beyond the normal range of a radar or remaining visible to the radar while flying behind a mountain. Cross checking then allows the user to see which radar in a network is reporting false data and is therefore infected.

The system was acquired by the French military this year and is due to go operational in 2015, said Cecilia Aguero, an engineer with Thales’ AirC4I business unit.

The system uses individual monitoring units dubbed the RadBox by Thales, launched last year, which operate together to form the Cybair Picture package. “We are the only company offering this type of product,” she said.

Aguero said a reported example of a cyber attack on an air defense radar network was Operation Orchard in 2007, when Israel allegedly disrupted Syria’s radar network to allow aircraft to fly into Syria to bomb a planned nuclear site.

Aguero said a product to spot the consequences of hacking was necessary because tools to stop hackers from getting into a radar network could not be relied upon.

“We cannot rely on virus checking; hackers are always one step ahead,” she said. “Nobody is strong enough to stop attacks.”

Thales is, meanwhile, developing its cybersecurity operation, offering customers ways to predict attacks and counter them. With customers now including the defense ministries of France, the UK and Norway, Thales sees 500 million euros in revenue in the sector and protects 80 percent of the world’s banking transactions, a spokeswoman said. ■



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