Sydney Airport to combat cyber foes with new security centre

Sydney Airport will launch a new round-the-clock Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) to shield the transport hub against mounting data and information security threats.

One of the major announcements in the airport’s 2018 annual report, the CSOC forms part of the transport hub’s “maturity improvements” – a key component of its Information and Cyber Security 2020 strategy.

“A refreshed Information and Cyber Security 2020 strategy has been at the centre of our cyber programs to drive security governance, improved maturity levels, and stronger user awareness via security culture campaigns,” the report said.

The Airport acknowledged the growing threat posed by malicious cyber actors targeting its internal systems, with the report underscoring cybersecurity as a “key operational risk” alongside climate change, aircraft accidents, terrorist attacks, and the threat of war.

The Cyber Security Operations Centre is expected to be up and running by April this year.

Cyber threat mitigation has become an increasingly integral part of Sydney Airport’s overall security agenda. The airport has already secured partnerships with the Australian government via the Joint Cyber Security Centre (JCSC) as well as with the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (ISAC) to share global aviation cybersecurity intelligence.

The Airport, by far Australia's busiest and most heavily patronised, said it will continue to deliver “prudent increases in technology investment supporting enhanced customer experience, network resilience and cyber risk management amongst other initiatives” through 2019.

In addition to the recently implemented automated passenger check-in zones, the Airport will commence rollouts of a new biometrics security system, allowing passengers to navigate through airport security zones using facial recognition without the need to present their passport at each processing point.

The biometrics trial has so far been limited to Qantas passengers travelling on select international flights. However, the rollout will soon be extended across all of Sydney Airport’s International security terminals.

“Once concluded, the Sydney Airport trial – which is being keenly observed by the aviation industry in Australia and abroad – is likely to play a significant role in the rollout of biometrics technology both domestically and internationally,” the report said.