when pc's go down, planes stay or go down
Auditors found that the FAA hadn't adequately secured computers running at the 20 "en route centers" that direct high-altitude traffic nationwide. "While having limited exposure to the general public, en route center computer systems need to be better protected," reads the report, dated October 1st. The assessment comes from the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, in a yearly cyber security review required of all federal agencies under the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). The review covers all of the Department's components, but signles out the FAA for special attention as custodian of the nation's air traffic control -- considered a "critical infrastructure" by presidential directive
The vulnerability updates of the personal workstations was also inadequate.
The results were that after one incident september 2004 "Controllers were unable to communicate with aircraft for three hours, resulting in hundreds of flights being grounded and five cases of airplanes drifting closer to each other than safety regulations permit. The Los Angeles Times reported that the outage was the result of a worker neglecting to perform a monthly reset of a Windows-based control system, resulting in its automatic shutdown after 49.7 days of operation. A backup system also failed.