GAO warns FAA of internet-connected systems

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its second report of the year pertaining to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) lacking cyber security protocol and warned the agency that its on-flight Wi-Fi, among other things, could put aircrafts and passengers at-risk.

As the FAA transitions into using new Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) technology, the GAO wrote, it must recognize the threat posed by having interconnectivity between various internet-connected systems.

“If one system connected to an IP [Internet Protocol] network is compromised, damage can potentially spread to other systems on the network, continually expanding the part of the system at risk,” the report stated.

So far, 36 percent of air traffic control systems in the national airspace system are connected to the internet, but the FAA expects that percentage to increase to between 50 and 60 percent by 2020.

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