Cybersecurity Lessons from the Aerospace Industry

wires connecting to server rack

With the advent of software-defined cars and self-driving vehicles, the auto industry has leaped headlong into a world of cybersecurity and digital risk. Automakers, for the most part, have managed to adapt with ease. There’s a reason for that.

It’s not that automotive manufacturers had cybersecurity expertise prior to this evolution. While it’s likely that most did at least have in-house IT personnel, they likely had little use for dedicated security teams. Rather, it’s the nature of their industry that gave them an edge.

Safety in the automotive sector is paramount. Even a minor manufacturing fault or design error can have dire, even fatal consequences. Automakers must therefore adhere to an incredibly comprehensive list of automotive safety standards

It’s worth noting that the automotive sector is hardly unique in this regard. Aerospace is in a similar boat, with painstaking standards and guidance around safety and quality. But what exactly does any of this have to do with cybersecurity? 

A great deal, actually.

A Risk-Aware Mindset

By their nature, professionals working in sectors like automotive manufacturing must be risk-aware. They must be focused and thorough, with a full understanding of everything that may go wrong. Generally speaking, they’ll also have incident response and crisis management plans in place for each worst-case scenario.


Standards and frameworks also play an important role in manufacturing safety. Again, this is a parallel with cybersecurity, where the best approach is nearly always informed by guidelines from agencies such as the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Security standards play a pivotal role in establishing a strong security posture.

Ignore them only at your own peril. 

“Good Enough” Isn’t Good Enough

If you’re manufacturing a vehicle, ‘good enough’ can result in a devastating car accident. If you’re designing an airliner, ‘good enough’ can get people killed. In the automotive and aerospace sectors, there’s no such thing as good enough.

There’s acceptable, and there’s unacceptable. 

This is a philosophy that can and should be applied to security and risk management. While there will inevitably be certain threats and risks you cannot fully prevent, you also cannot afford to be complacent. You must take a proactive approach to cybersecurity, actively hunting threats and monitoring your network for potentially malicious activities. 

The Right Tools Make All the Difference

Automotive suppliers are increasingly turning towards automation and artificial intelligence to improve the production process and manage their supply chain. The lesson in that should be clear—always consider how technology might improve your security posture, and always look for ways you might automate manual work. Solutions like endpoint protection (EPP), extended detection and response (XDR), and user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) all play a pivotal role in strengthening your security posture and protecting your systems and data.


Cybersecurity is a pivotal part of every industry, but it’s also more challenging and complicated than it’s ever been.  With that in mind, one must take lessons on effectiveness and best practices wherever they surface. And the aerospace and automotive sectors have a great deal to teach in that regard. Want to see more about cybersecurity lessons we can take away from life? Check out our previous post on Cybersecurity Lessons We Can Learn From Our Cats.