Air traffic control system vulnerable to hackers, report finds

Atmel | Bits & Pieces

The United States’ system for guiding planes and other forms of aircraft is at an increased and unnecessary risk of being hacked.

A new Government Accountability Office report reveals that cybersecurity is “threatening the agency’s ability to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operation of the national airspace system.” The 42-page document entitled “Information Security: FAA Needs to Address Weaknesses in Air Traffic Control Systems” credits the FAA with taking steps to deter malicious hackers but concluded that significant security control weaknesses still remain.


One area of supcetibility, in particular, is the ability to prevent and detect unauthorized access to the vast network of computer and communication systems. These include controls for protecting system boundaries, identifying and authenticating users, authorizing users to access systems, encrypting sensitive data, and monitoring activity on the FAA’s systems, the report states.

The FAA relies on more than 100 of these air traffic systems to direct planes, with air traffic controllers responsible for…

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