Working Groups

ICAO Secretariat Study Group on Cybersecurity (SSGC)

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Resolution A39-19 – Addressing Cybersecurity in Civil Aviation set out the actions to be undertaken by States and other stakeholders to counter cyber threats to civil aviation through a cross-cutting, horizontal and collaborative approach. Furthermore, ICAO was instructed to lead and seek to attain a comprehensive cybersecurity, cyber safety and cyber resilience work plan and governance structure with all relevant stakeholders.

 

In order to properly implement Resolution A39-19, the ICAO Secretariat Study Group on Cybersecurity (SSGC) was established in August 2017. The SSGC is organized as a plenary group supported by one Sub-Group (Research Sub-Group on Legal Aspects) and three Working Groups (Working Group on Airlines and Aerodromes, Working Group on Air Navigation Systems and Working Group on Cybersecurity for Flight Safety).

 

The scope of the group is to:

a) Serve as the focal point for all ICAO cybersecurity work;

b) Define relevant areas to be considered by the Working Groups (WG) of the SSGC and validate their respective terms of reference to ensure that no overlapping of duties and responsibilities occur;

c) Conduct a review of ICAO Annexes to consolidate existing Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) related to cybersecurity;

d) Review the proposals for amendments to ICAO provisions or new provisions to be developed related to cybersecurity proposed by the Working Groups;

e) Encourage the development of, and participation in, government/industry partnerships and mechanisms, nationally and internationally, for the systematic sharing of information on cyber threats, incidents, trends and mitigation efforts; and

f) Promote cybersecurity awareness throughout the aviation community.

Experts from 43 States and observers from 12 international organizations attended at least one of the meetings of the SSGC and Sub-Group or WG, experts from industry or private companies are invited on an ad-hoc basis to provide inputs on the threats, vulnerabilities and protection methods and tools.


 

Research Sub-Group on Legal Aspects (RSGLEG)

The Sub-Group was established as a necessity to review the adequacy of the existing international legal framework to address cyber threats against civil aviation and to review the draft Cybersecurity Strategy. The group continued its work and extended the scope of work to:

a) Categorize or analyze the cyber threats and vulnerabilities to civil aviation and associated risks identified by ICAO expert groups in order to establish to what extent the current legal international framework covers them;

b) Establish a common understanding and terminology of the cyber security language, including on aspects such as "cybersecurity as it relates to aviation", "computers", "unauthorized access", "vulnerabilities", "threats" and "weapons";

c) Review and analyze (in relation to the identified threats, risks and actors) the adequacy of the current international legal framework as well as assess the need to reinterpret (acknowledging that judiciary might be hesitant to do so) or amend the existing international air law instruments dealing with cyber threats legal framework or to adopt new instruments or SARPs;

d) Analyze cybersecurity related international instruments developed in other international transportation and communications domains such as maritime or railway or telecommunications in order to determine whether certain provisions could serve as analogy/a reference for the aviation international legal framework; and

e) Based on the above review and analysis, identify aspects or matters that may require referral to the ICAO Legal Committee, AVSEC Panel or other ICAO bodies for further consideration and action.


Working Group on Airlines and Aerodromes (WG-AAD)

As part of the ICAO SSGC, the Working Group on Airlines and Aerodromes (WG-AAD) addresses cybersecurity matters related to airport and airline operations not related to air navigation systems or airworthiness.


The group focuses on cyberspace related to facilitation, infrastructure protection, passengers and airline systems (check-in, baggage and cargo handling), and other systems not related to air navigation with a direct impact to operations. The scope of work may change and be reconsidered as the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve.


The objectives of the group are to:

a) Advise the SSGC on cybersecurity matters related to the airport and airline operations at aerodromes, not related to air navigation systems;

b) Coordinate development and/or updates of relevant Standards and Recommended Practices and Guidance Materials through the respective ICAO Panels and Study Groups;

c) Determine all relevant cybersecurity areas affecting airport and airline operations on the ground, not related to air navigation systems and prioritize them accordingly for action; and

d) Coordinate through the SSGC, as necessary, on cross-cutting matters with other SSGC Working Groups.

 

Working Group on Air Navigation Systems (WG-ANS)

The Working Group on Air Navigation Systems (WG-ANS) was created to address cyber safety, security, and cyber resilience aspects of current and existing airport, air navigation and information management systems.

 

The group focuses on, among other areas: airport interactions with air navigation systems, initial ATM system design considerations (i.e. secure-by-design); system-wide information management (SWIM) global interoperability; and air-ground, air-air and ground-ground links through all appropriate connection means.

 

The objectives of the group are to:

a) Advise the SSGC on cyber safety, security, and cyber resilience ANS and airport operations matters for current and future environment;

b) Coordinate development and/or updates of relevant Standards and Recommended Practices Procedures and Guidance Material, as necessary, through the respective ICAO Panels and Study Groups;

c) Determine all relevant cyber safety, security, and cyber resilience areas affecting ANS, airport operations and SWIM interoperability and prioritize them accordingly for action; and

d) Coordinate through the SSGC, as necessary, on cross-cutting matters with other SSGC Working Groups.

 

Working Group on Cybersecurity for Flight Safety (WG-CFS)

The Working Group on Cybersecurity for Flight Safety (WG-CFS) was created to address cyber safety, security, and cyber resilience aspects of airworthiness.

 

The group focuses on three primary areas of airworthiness: initial design considerations (i.e. secure-by-design); modifications to in-service aircraft; and aircraft maintenance (with a specific focus on field-loadable software). Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems are also considered within the scope of work, including the command-and-control link (C2 Link) between the remote pilot station and the aircraft.

 

The objectives of the group are to:

a) Advise the SSGC on cyber safety, security, and cyber resilience airworthiness matters;

b) Coordinate development and/or updates of relevant Standards and Recommended Practices and Guidance Materials through the respective ICAO Panels and Study Groups;

c) Determine all relevant cyber safety, security, and cyber resilience areas affecting airworthiness and prioritize them accordingly for action; and

d) Coordinate through the SSGC, as necessary, on cross-cutting matters with other SSGC Working Groups.

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