FAA floats security options

"Aviation Security: Terrorist Acts Demand Urgent Need to Improve Security at the Nation's Airports"

With attention focused like never before on security in the skies, government and industry representatives at a congressional hearing Sept. 20 repeated warnings made in years past: Technology needs to play a bigger role and be secured.

Air traffic control computer systems within the Federal Aviation Administration remain at risk of intrusion and malicious attacks, despite a review last year pointing out the problems, said Gerald Dillingham, director of physical infrastructure issues at the General Accounting Office. Although the FAA is making some progress in addressing 22 computer security recommendations, most have yet to be completed, he said.

"Vigilance is required to prevent attacks against the extensive computer networks that [the] FAA uses to guide thousands of flights safely through U.S. airspace," Dillingham said in prepared testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Transportation Department Secretary Norman Mineta said several technologies — such as fingerprint-recognition systems linked with FBI databases and retinal scanning systems — are available to beef up the passenger screening process, which is now the responsibility of airlines.

Heavy criticism of lax screening procedures could result in the process being federalized. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, said an FAA memory chip card system under development to identify armed law enforcement officers could screen airline and airport employees before they enter restricted areas. Plans are in the works to install a memory card reader at each security screening checkpoint in the United States, Woerth said.

The FAA's Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, which helps flag high-risk passengers based on airline data about them, should also be expanded, Woerth said.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.