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Farnborough 2018: Raytheon focuses in on cyber

9th July 2018 - 12:00 GMT | by Gerrard Cowan in Belfast


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Cyber will be a major focus for Raytheon at the Farnborough International Airshow, with the company set to provide overviews of its cyber hardening systems for military aircraft. 

Raytheon provides cyber resiliency for a wide range of both rotary and fixed-wing platforms, including the V-22 Osprey, the HH-60 Pave Hawk, the CH-53 Sea Stallion, the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the A-10 Thunderbolt II. It also works on unmanned aerial vehicles, providing cyber-security support to the control stations of the RQ-4 Global Hawk and the B and C variants of the MQ-8 Fire Scout. 

‘Many of these platforms were fielded before cyber was really a concern,’ said Todd Probert, VP mission support and modernisation at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS).

The IIS business conducts a range of cyber-focused activities on both the offensive and defensive sides, Probert said. It aims to bring all of this to bear in hardening aviation platforms, approaching the work ‘with an attacker’s mindset’. 

The ISS business conducts vulnerability assessments, looking ‘comprehensively at that platform in terms of what cyber threat vectors might be there,' Probert said.

Raytheon is planning a number of cyber resiliency overviews, briefings and discussions at Farnborough, ‘largely talking about how we do a vulnerability assessment’, which Probert says involves looking ‘at the various ways that an attacker could get in’. 

The company will have a cyber dome at the show, displaying in 360° and in 3D its cyber capabilities, including cyber resiliency, cyber operations centres, an anatomy of a hack, insider threat solutions and cyber training. 

A military aircraft is likely safest from cyber concerns when it is in flight, Probert said, with ‘probably a small handful of nation state actors’ that could effect a cyber attack at that stage. 

However, there are a whole host of other ‘touch points’ that could bring a cyber challenge, such as when an aircraft is in maintenance mode. Every weapon system brings a new computer that represents a cyber vulnerability, he said, as does the whole gamut of other onboard equipment, such as helmet-mounted displays. , 

The supply chain and the sustainment network also merit attention, he added. 

Raytheon’s vulnerability assessment looks at ‘all of those various touchpoints on the platform [to] understand the risk level … down to the hardware and certainly how the software was put in place’. 

The company then develops a remediation approach to address these problems, he said; this could be ‘as varied as the threats themselves’, ranging from a focus on hardware and software products to coding.

Cyber has rapidly grown as a focus for Raytheon more broadly, and specifically at airshows like Farnborough, Probert said. 

‘Cyber has fast become part of the way we maintain our weapon systems and our airplanes,’ he said, also highlighting the civil dimension. ‘It’s something that we have to build [into] how we maintain and sustain our platforms, or we’re not doing our jobs.’

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