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FAA Admits - Computer Systems Attacked by Hackers

Theepochtimes.com reported on 6th April, 2015 stating that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), national aviation authority of US, recently declared that its computer systems were attacked by unknown hackers in February.

After analyzing the cyberattacks, it conveyed on 6th April, 2015 that FAA exposed "a known virus" which spread through email on "its administrative computer system".

The cyberattack most probably did not cause any damage to the computer system. FAA discovered it and blocked the attack by restricting the virus and cleaned the affected computers.

It was interesting to find that the attack only targeted computer systems of administration. The fact is that it was spread through email and gives an impression of a spear-phishing attack which often uses official looking emails to infect a targeted computer network.

The identity of hackers still remains anonymous and also the details of functions of the virus could not be found.

However, the agency's admission comes only weeks after leading Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) requested FAA to implement superior protective measures in the cyberspace amid a series of latest high-profile hacking and an unappealing government audit, as published by Rt.com on 7th April, 2015.

Schumer warned during a press conference last month saying that if Sony hacking was bad, then you can imagine how bad the hacking of computer system of FAA could be with hundreds of planes in air.

Security experts have warned for years about threat of cyberattacks on aviation to close down the air-traffic control system or to send wrong information to pilots and controllers but it is very difficult to quantify the extent of the threat.

Usatoday.com published news on 7th April, 2015 quoting Jeff Price, Associate Professor of Aviation Management of Metropolitan State University in Denver, as saying "cyberattacks, till now, have focused on systems of airline reservation which can upset flights for hours and cost millions."

Price added that most of the attacks disrupt services with few affecting security and safety.

Price concluded that the potential threat is that hackers can close a radar facility or send false information via air-traffic control for planes which are landing or avoiding one another.

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