AFCEA International Chapter News
ALAMO CHAPTER CHAPTER - Aug 15, 2017

How to Combat Cybersecurity Issues on Aircraft

In August, Austin-based Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) Director and Project Manager Zach Walker spoke candidly on the processes they've been using the past year at the chapter's Lunch, Learn, Network event. "In the last 15 months we have a total of 45 pilot contracts, $100M of capital, start-ups, traditionals and others that do actual prototypes... those companies together have raised money and given us technology and talent that we just would not have had access to. Walker discussed Defense Deparment problems and gave an example of why cybersecurity is needed among aircraft. "There is an obscene amount of ways to get in whether it be a lazy operator or another operator that doesn't realize some extracurricular activities could end up compromising what they're doing." To combat cybersecurity issues on aircraft, DIUx hires hackers to work through some of these issues. However, as Walker explained, the company simply just does not have enough of them out there to do this kind of work. There's a common thread between vulnerability analysis on weapon systems and hiring the best and brightest out there, but it just simply is not to scale. Congress realized that this is a problem and in the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act section 1647, the Defense Department will complete an evaluation of the cyber vulnerabilities of each major weapon system of the Department by no later than calendar year 2019. This brought the need to develop automated machines that can hack and defend each other without any human involvement, a technology that does already exist, as well as to improve detection and evaluation of cyber vulnerabilities. "I would offer that the impact of what we're doing... working together, trying to have DoD partners understand what the toughest challenges are in the DoD and then bring forward the most innovative solutions to solve it. Whether it's three guys in a basement or it's a massive traditional defense contractor, it's the team effort and something that we all have to work together on," concluded Walker.

Event Photographs:

Austin Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) Director Zach Walker speaks to chapter members and attendees at the Lunch, Learn, Network event in August. Walker gave insight on DIUx and future developments in the cybersecurity field.
Austin Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) Director Zach Walker speaks to chapter members and attendees at the Lunch, Learn, Network event in August. Walker gave insight on DIUx and future developments in the cybersecurity field.
Attendees pose questions during the Q and A portion of Walker's presentation at the event in August.
Attendees pose questions during the Q and A portion of Walker's presentation at the event in August.
Brent Burkott thanks the chapter during the August Lunch, Learn, Network event. Burkott received the STEM Teacher Graduate Scholarship from Karen Rolirad, (c) vice president of scholarships  and educational grants, and Dr. Kat Strus.
Brent Burkott thanks the chapter during the August Lunch, Learn, Network event. Burkott received the STEM Teacher Graduate Scholarship from Karen Rolirad, (c) vice president of scholarships and educational grants, and Dr. Kat Strus.

For more details regarding this event contact:
Szu-Moy Toves
866-445-9114

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