United States Senator Charles Schumer last Sunday called upon the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to introduce strategies that were recommended in a report produced by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with the purpose of making computer systems employed by the air traffic control more secure against possible hacker attacks.
The report that was submitted by GAO this week speculates that the FAA is open to online intrusions of the NAS or the National Airspace Systems, mainly thanks to the fact that the same government agency failed to provide updates to their own security systems that now lack the necessary encryption, as well as Firewall protection.
On Sunday, Senator Schumer implored the FAA to act in a prudent manner so it can make sure it is able to combat any possible future attacks carried out over the internet. He stated in a press release that the computers and IT systems operated by the FAA have failings of a system-wide nature that provide a possible opening for a hacker attack on the air traffic control systems.
The same failings could also compromise the sensitive data from the aviation sector of even have the potential of shutting down the entire system while a large number of planes are vulnerable and in the air. The lack of digital IP security systems in the FAA also means that these attacks could be carried out in complete anonymity, in which case the perpetrators would remain unknown.
The Senator, a Democrat from the state of New York, suggested that the failure of the FAA in the task of enhancing its security systems could lead it to the same position that the Sony Company found itself a few months ago. After saying that everyone saw what happened in the Sony hacking case, he concluded that it is impossible to imagine the huge and immediate danger that a hacking of the FAA’s computer systems and air traffic control could bring about.
GAO began its investigation of the FAA systems designed to provide it with digital security in August 2013. Earlier this year the same agency finalized its report and concluded that there are several substantial potential threats to the National Airspace Systems.