Audit Reports

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Review of Web Applications Security and Intrusion Detection in Air Traffic Control Systems

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On May 4, 2009, we issued our report on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) web applications security and intrusion detection in air traffic control (ATC) systems, requested by the Ranking Minority Members of the full House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee. The objectives of this performance audit were to determine whether (1) web applications used in supporting ATC operations were properly secured to prevent unauthorized access to ATC systems, and (2) FAA’s network intrusion–detection capability was effective in monitoring ATC cyber–security incidents. We found that web applications used in supporting ATC systems operations were not properly secured to prevent attacks or unauthorized access. During the audit, our staff gained unauthorized access to information stored on web application computers and an ATC system, and confirmed system vulnerability to malicious code attacks. In addition, FAA had not established adequate intrusion–detection capability to monitor and detect potential cyber security incidents at ATC facilities. The intrusion–detection system has been deployed to only 11 (out of hundreds of) ATC facilities. Also, cyber incidents detected were not remediated in a timely manner.