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Home » Hacking News » Air traffic tech systems vulnerable

Air traffic tech systems vulnerable

by Nikola Strahija on September 28th, 2005 Government Accountability Office found during a recent investigation that high-tech networks which link key parts of the U.S. air traffic control system lack important controls and are potentially vulnerable to hackers.

Greg Martin, an FAA spokesman, said separately the investigation was too narrowly focused and the agency has adequate controls in place nationwide. - They are very secure systems, Martin said. -- There is a lot that the (report) failed to take into account.’ Martin said any vulnerabilities are countered by several redundancies and other controls built throughout the IT architecture.

But the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, nevertheless disclosed a series of gaps that include outdated security plans, inadequate awareness training, and questions about whether the FAA could detect intruders and keep the system up during a security breach.

-The agency has not adequately managed its networks, software updates, user accounts and passwords and user privileges, the GAO found. Other information security controls, including physical security and background investigations, also have shortcomings that are not mitigated by special operating systems and custom software.

-Interruptions of service by these systems could have a significant impact on air traffic nationwide, the GAO concluded.

The nation's air traffic system handled more than 46 million flights in 2004. More than 640 million people flew on commercial planes. At any one time, as many as 7,000 aircraft were in the air.

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