Airbus, the popular European aerospace group, revealed on Wednesday that it had become a victim of cybersecurity attack, due to which its “Commercial Aircraft business” information systems were affected. According to the company’s official statement the breach resulted in “unauthorised access to data” but there is no impact on Airbus’ commercial operations.

So far it is known that “some personal data was accessed”, but what that exactly means is still not clear. However, Airbus is giving some obscure information, trying to diminish the seriousness of the attack:

“Investigations are ongoing to understand if any specific data was targeted, however we do know some personal data was accessed. This is mostly professional contact and IT identification details of some Airbus employees in Europe”, Airbus said in its statement.

It is important to notice that despite the short and not so informative statement, the company emphasised in it that the GDPR rules have been obliged and the relevant authorities have already been notified about the breach. Furthermore, it is claimed that all employees whose data might have been exposed had also been informed. Up to date, the company has more than 10,000 employees, but how many of them are considered as potential victims of the attack is not revealed.

Apparently, the aggregating cases of strict following of the GDPR measures in terms of applying fines is gradually resulting in companies’ taking the legal framework into account.

While the investigations are in process, the manufacturing plants are operating as usual. Meanwhile Airbus’ security team is said to be working towards strengthening its defense systems.

Attack of companies like Airbus (holding highly specialised intellectual property) usually have aims in three main directions. First and probably foremost, this is the financial outcome for the cybercriminals. Second comes the industrial espionage, and last but not least is the chaos that these incidents and their announcement bring to the public attention. Therefore, there are at least several reasons for the crucial importance of companies’ adequate reactions to cyberattacks.

We, at AMATAS, help organisations enhance their security capabilities. They allow them to monitor every event in their IT infrastructure. The slightest deviation from the routine behaviour and activities quickly attracts the attention of the security team or triggers an autonomous response. Malicious activities are suspended, before they develop further.  

In March 2018, Airbus’ rival company Boeing disclosed it became a victim of WannaCry ransomware attack. Then in September British Airways announced a data security breach in 380 000 of its customers' bank cards. Later it turned out that their number was extended by 77,000. Also in September last year, Air Canada notified its customers that cybercriminals have hacked its mobile application. Attempts of malicious people and organisations are bound to continue. Our task is to keep them from moving beyond the stage of an attempt.

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