Case Study

Secure Data Transmission Increases Air Traffic Management Safety

Introduction

Security has long been a top priority in the aeronautical industry, and Air Traffic Management (ATM), which refers to the entirety of systems and actions required to manage the movement of aircraft both on the ground and in the air, plays a major role in maintaining secure aeronautical transportation. In different phases of operations, a wide range of diverse facilities and devices need to communicate with each other. An important aspect of ATM is that it must be able to operate in all kinds of conditions, including outdoors, in harsh weather, and at remote sites, and all relevant data needs to be collected and monitored correctly and securely to maintain safe and stable operations.

Based on this brief introduction, we can conclude that the devices and components comprising an ATM system must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. An industrial-grade rugged design suitable for harsh environments, including outdoors, at remote sites, and over long distances, to ensure that ATM operation is both reliable and stable.
  2. Top-notch network security to protect data from hackers. Since OT protocols such as Modbus are generally not designed with transmission security in mind, some governments require high-profile areas such as airports to use IT protocols for Internet-facing data transmissions. The most popular IT protocols in use today emphasize a highly secure design. Essential aspects of such protocols include data encryption, which presents a solid first line of defense against eavesdropping and hacking. SNMP, for example, is widely used in the IT field. Combined with SNMP Trap and Inform, SNMP can be used with both polling-based and alarm-based communication, making it one of the most popular protocols for airport monitoring.

System Requirements

  1. The ability to collect and monitor data from many different airport facilities, including runway lights, tower lights, and navigation aids, as well as the ability to actively send data to the ATM server to minimize the response time for critical conditions.
  2. Devices must be able to operate reliably in both extremely harsh hot and cold environments so that the devices can be deployed in airports around the world.
  3. SNMPv3 and SNMPv3 Trap are required for authentication and active alarms, and data encryption is needed to prevent sensitive information from being stolen during transmission.

Moxa Solution

A remote I/O system deployed at an airport can be used to acquire serial, digital, and analog data from runway lights, tower lights, and navigation aids, and then transmitted in real time to the control center. In addition, products that feature advanced remote I/O features and wide temperature operation are rugged enough to work 24/7 in all kinds of weather and harsh conditions to provide the non-stop operation demanded by airport operation codes.

SNMPv3 and SNMPv3 Trap are required. Since SNMP is a polling-based protocol, the control center can poll remote I/O status periodically via SNMP to make sure that all monitoring data is up-to-date. In addition, SNMP Trap can update data from remote sites to the control center actively. The user can set the threshold for the monitoring data and receive alarms immediately when preconfigured conditions are met. SNMP and SNMP Trap help ensure that status reports from airport facilities is always up-to-date and all emergencies can be handled promptly and properly.

With respect to security, SNMPv3 and SNMPv3 Trap support authentication and data encryption, making version 3 the most secure of all SNMP versions. The most popular encryption algorithm used by SNMP is MD5. However, since MD5’s security weaknesses can be exploited by hackers, cybersecurity experts suggest using a more secure algorithm, like SHA2, to protect sensitive information. Moxa’s modular remote I/O products support the SHA224 and SHA256 encryption algorithms, both of which belong to the SHA2 family.

Why Moxa

  1. Advanced modular remote I/O products that support SNMPv3 and SNMPv3 Trap for device-level security and active data transmissions.
  2. SNMPv3 that supports SHA224 and SHA256 encryption algorithms to minimize the risk of data leakage.
  3. Modular remote I/O products that support a variety of interfaces and protocols, making it easy for users to expand their systems.
  4. Wide-temperature models that provide reliable operation at temperatures ranging from -40 to 75°C.

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