HHLA Sky receives cybersecurity certification for drones

HHLA SkyThe drone system has been certified by TÜV according to the cybersecurity industry standard IEC 62443. The entire system was tested, including communication between the drones and the integrated control center. The Integrated Control Center is a scalable IoT platform that enables active, intelligent and simultaneous monitoring and management of more than 100 automated drones, autonomous mobile robots (AMR) and their tasks.

TÜV NORD certifies the excellence and well-protected system integrity of this mobile robot management solution. Both the system architecture and the multi-layer security design, its defined procedures, the software and the drone hardware meet all the requirements for this cybersecurity standard.

HHLA Sky’s product development process also meets all normative requirements in each of the eight areas. These are: Controlling development, defining security requirements, designing security solutions, providing a secure development environment, testing security functions, dealing with security gaps, creating and publishing updates, and documenting security functions.

This is the first time an industry-standard IoT drone system has been certified for cybersecurity.

“Our customers often work in critical infrastructures. An IoT strategy that embeds security and cybersecurity right from the start is just as important to them as the efficiency gains through the use of automated drones. Our customers will only deploy a sufficiently cyber-secure product to support their business continuity – and we need to ensure that the level of protection remains consistently high. We are proud that TÜV Nord has now certified the standards we have established for our integrated control center as cyber-secure,” says Matthias Gronstedt, Managing Director of HHLA Sky.

“Our requirements for a cyber-secure product go somewhat beyond the actual requirements for certification,” adds Lothar Müller, Managing Director of HHLA Sky: “We also see cyber security as a management task and are therefore pursuing a holistic approach for our own security strategy. For example, we foster a corporate culture in which all team members understand that cybersecurity touches on the responsibility of each individual. This also enables us to design extremely resilient cyber-physical systems such as the Integrated Control Center in order to offer our customers the highest level of security.”

real risk

“Cybercrime will cost the world $8 trillion by 2023,” predicts Cybercrime Magazine. “If measured as a country, cybercrime would be the world’s third largest economy after the US and China.” The magazine expects “the cost of damage from cybercrime to grow 15% annually globally over the next three years and 10% annually by 2025.” $.5 trillion, up from $3 trillion in 2015.”

According to Bitkom, the damage caused to German companies by cyber attacks last year was around 223 billion euros. According to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), there were around 146,000 reported attacks in Germany in 2021, 12% more cyber attacks than in the previous year.

Moody’s registers worldwide that the risks are increasing for many sectors, but at the same time that restructuring and defensive measures are becoming more important.

In a global study, the rating agency Moody’s classifies critical infrastructures such as energy, gas and water as sectors with a very high cyber risk. The agency also ranks the technology industry among the high-risk industries.

Mobile robot management systems for drones increase the attack possibilities due to their complexity and interconnectivity. The increasing degree of automation in drone operation and the more deeply the mobile robots are networked with the production systems, intelligent firewalls must therefore be set up.

Safe UAV operation

Cyber ​​security is also one of the decisive factors for the safe operation of automated UAVs and future autonomously flying UAVs: for example in missions in critical infrastructures, in urban areas in general and in all airspaces that drones share with manned aviation.

High protection against hijacking, manipulation, data theft

HHLA Sky’s drone system is protected against cyber attacks. The transmission of the often sensitive sensor data is also end-to-end encrypted. Access is only granted to authorized persons. Human errors, which offer additional points of attack, are largely ruled out by standard operating procedures as used in civil aviation.

As a result, the system offers companies and authorities maximum protection against the hijacking of mobile robots, the manipulation of routes and clearances, as well as the interception or manipulation of video streams, other sensor data or the activation of functional elements of a logistics drone, such as activating the cable winch or opening the holding device for transport goods.

Milestone for the drone industry

The consistent architectural approach of HHLA Sky was fully validated by the renowned TÜV NORD and put to the test by recognized experts. With the first cybersecurity certification for drone standards, HHLA Sky has achieved a milestone for the UAV industry that is unique worldwide, making it a pioneer in its field.

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