Istanbul Ataturk International Airport targeted by a cyber attack

Pierluigi Paganini July 28, 2013

Media agencies reported news of a cyber attack against the Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, the passport control system at the departure terminal was hit causing many problems at the airport.

The Turkish authorities diffused the news of a cyber attack against the Istanbul Ataturk International Airport. Official sources revealed that the passport control system at the departure terminal of the Istanbul Ataturk Airport International was hit by a cyber attack last Friday, but concerning news is that also another airport in the same city was also victims of hackers.

News agencies also reported in fact that the passport control system at the Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Istanbul was down due to the malfunction of the Istanbul provincial security directorate’s Polnet data system.

The Istanbul Ataturk International Airport went into the caos, the plane departures were delayed with corresponding impact on waiting times for passengers.

Istanbul Ataturk International Airport

The cyberattack shut down passport control systems at two facilities, and authorities have restored the systems after the necessary recovery operation.

Authorities are investigating on the incidents, security experts hypnotized that attackers used malware to steal user’s data. A data breach to system like the one deployed at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport could allow to hackers to gather sensitive information but it could be also used with sabotage purpose.

Actually there is no information on the possible source of the attacks.

The events raise again the discussion on the necessity to preserve critical infrastructures of a country, control systems, electric grids, telecommunication systems and many other vital infrastructures must be properly protected from cyber attacks. The number of incidents is destined to grow, it is essential to be prepared and to establish all necessary countermeasures to avoid serious repercussions.

Unfortunately state-sponsored hackers, cyber criminals and hacktivists represent a serious menace for critical infrastructures of any country, it is necessary to invest in cyber security at any level before it will be too late.

Population must be aware of the risks connected to a cyber attack, but in countries such as Italy people totally ignores what is possible to do with a malware, this is profoundly wrong.

The concept of war is mutating and menace from cyber space could create serious damage, the recent events occurred due to the dispute between North Korea and South Korea are an excellent example to explain that cyber attacks could block banking system of a country or its media agencies.

Time is running out, we live in a digital age and terrorists and governments are exploring new ways to hit the opponents.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – hacking, Istanbul Ataturk International Airport)

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