US Senator urges FAA to implement cyber security upgrades

US Senator urges FAA to implement cyber security upgrades

In a letter sent out to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Sunday, US Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) has warned that the agency's computer system may be at potential risk of cyber attack.

Warning that the national airspace computer systems are apparently vulnerable to hackers, Schumer said in the letter that the FAA should immediately implement several 'expert-recommended' cyber security upgrades to ensure that the US' air traffic controllers are protected against possible cyber attacks and intrusion.

The 'expert-recommended' upgrades which Schumer has urged the FAA to implement immediately refer to 17 recommendations and 168 specific actions which the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has asked the FAA to take, in order to improve security. The recommendations and actions were suggested by the GAO in a recent report which hinted at major security weaknesses within the air traffic control systems of the FAA.

Though some of the recommendations of the GAO are already being implemented by the FAA, Schumer has asserted in his letter that the agency needs to do a lot more to avert a devastating Sony-like takeover of its computer systems.

Schumer said in the letter: "We all saw what happened at Sony: one can only imagine the immediate risk posed by a hacking of the FAA's air traffic control and computer systems, in addition to the national security risk posed if foreign nationals or terrorists get their hands on the FAA's sensitive and encrypted data."