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US Air Force moves to fortify F-35 weak points against hacking

“The U.S. Air Force is devoting fresh energy to plugging cybersecurity holes in the F-35’s external support systems, as they are deemed the easiest entry points for hackers into the fifth-generation combat jet, according to a key service official. ‘It’s a software-based aircraft, and any software-based platform is going to be susceptible to hacking,’ Brig. Gen. Stephen Jost, director of the Air Force F-35 Integration Office, told Defense News in an interview at the International Fighter industry conference here. The service considers the information backbone of the actual airplane – managed by manufacturer Lockheed Martin – relatively safe. That is thanks to what Jost called ‘multilayer security protections’ ranging from secure authentication when crafting mission data packages for each aircraft before takeoff, to pilots punching in personal identification numbers to start up the plane. The confidence wanes ‘as you get further from the air vehicle,’ Jost said. When taking into account systems like the Autonomic Logistics Information System or the Joint Reprogramming Environment, there are ‘a lot of nodes of vulnerability that we’re trying to shore up,’ he added.”

Source: US Air Force moves to fortify F-35 weak points against hacking

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