The Critical Link

Cybersecurity and resiliency take flight with enterprise-class LEO networks

Jumbo jet flying with secure data simulated to & from plane in flight

Cybersecurity is a primary concern wherever data goes — on Earth and in space.

The airline industry is no exception in terms of needing to safely share data and provide connectivity, especially inflight. For example, passengers expect fast, reliable internet access to entertainment options, online shopping, and work applications. While doing so they may be entering sensitive data such as logins, credit card data and other personally identifiable information to gain access via the airline’s Wi-Fi network.

Both airline and ground crews also require secure inflight connectivity. Flight attendants regularly use enterprise applications during flights to check destination information and connecting aircraft data for passengers. Pilots connect to real-time weather apps to better understand flight conditions and to make any necessary adjustments. They also need secure, private connectivity in cases of an emergency.

In addition, instrumentation and aircraft component data require real-time monitoring and performance data. Reliable connectivity not only ensures flight safety, it also enables the ground crew to prepare for any necessary maintenance or repair work when the aircraft lands.  

Yet, in the wrong hands, all of this data can be compromised.

Stringent cybersecurity

Telesat has designed and built cybersecurity into its satellite connectivity services from the ground up to meet the toughest requirements for all the industries we serve.

For example, Telesat has adopted the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework for Telesat Lightspeed, our global, mesh Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network. In addition, Telesat will meet the highest Transmission Security (TRANSEC) and Infrastructure Asset Pre-Assessment Program (IA-PRE) requirements from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). It will also be third-party vetted under the DoD’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. These cybersecurity requirements are the highest in the world for commercial satellite communications, which benefits all users of the service.

Telesat can ensure 99.9% availability for airline passengers. Our advanced, enterprise-class Telesat Lightspeed network has multiple satellites that are always in view of each aircraft. Plus, onboard processing on the satellites and optical inter-satellite links provide flexibility and redundancy in routing data to the internet backbone. Telesat guarantees service availability with committed information rates for high-quality, always-on user experiences.

As for any potentially sensitive passenger and crew communications, all traffic is encrypted before leaving the aircraft and remains encrypted during the end-to-end transmission. This eliminates the risk of interception or eavesdropping. In addition, Telesat Lightspeed will provide resilient, high-speed capacity to enable sensor data for real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance and access to weather and flight planning services for flight crews.

Telesat provides data integrity, availability and confidentiality for secure satellite communications in the airline industry.

Learn more about our inflight connectivity services.

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