Federal Aviation Administration Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in dire need of a security upgrade, according to one U.S. senator. Without major changes to the agencyEUs computer systems, it will remain vulnerable to attacks from hackers, foreign governments, and terrorist organizations, said Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York.

The FAA is responsible for the countryEUs network of air traffic controllers through the National Air Traffic Control System and security breach could spell disaster for U.S. air travel, he said. Schumer based his comments on findings by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the agency responsible for auditing and monitoring the federal governmentEUs various organizations, according to the New York Daily News.

Weaknesses in Air Traffic Control

EUIf they were able to hack the system, thousands of planes could be in the air unguided. Sophisticated terrorists could even steer planes into one another,EU Schumer said.

In January, the GAO issued a scathing 46-page report detailing the security failings it found at the FAA in a document titled EUFAA Needs to Address Weaknesses in Air Traffic Control Systems.EU The GAO listed 168 different actions that the FAA should take to better protect itself from a malicious breach.

The FAA relies on the National Airspace System (NAS), a critical component of the nationEUs transportation infrastructure, according to the GAO report. EUGiven the critical role of the NAS and the increasing connectivity of FAAEUs systems, it is essential that the agency implement effective information security controls to protect its air traffic control systems from internal and external threats," according to the report.

Congress asked the GAO to review the FAAEUs information security program to evaluate the extent to which it had effectively implemented information security controls to protect its air traffic control systems. The GAO said that it reviewed FAA policies, procedures, and practices and compared them to...

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