Over a dozen of the websites for some of nation’s largest airports were temporarily brought offline on Monday morning, with Russian-speaking hackers claiming responsibility. The airports affected by the attack included LaGuardia in New York City, Chicago O’Hare, Denver, and LAX among others. Thankfully, these attacks did not affect air traffic control, internal airport communication, or other important airport operations. However, the interruption did cause an inconvenience to travelers who were attempting to access information such as wait times, capacity, etc.
A pro-Russian hacker group, Killnet, is believed to be behind the attacks. The type of cyberattack that was used is a distributed denial of service (DDoS), which overloads computer services with artificial users/traffic to render them non-funtional. A similar attack has also been reported recently that affected the networks of Germany’s railway systems, but there have been no reports linking the attacks.
Engineers and programmers are currently working on shutting these backdoors that allowed hackers to infiltrate their computer infrastructure. Head of intelligence analysis at cybersecurity firm Mandiant, John Hultquist, said, “Jamming attacks like the ones seen Monday morning are highly visible but largely superficial and often temporary.”
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has said the attacks did not disrupt airport operations or access any information, but added that it soon plans to issue additional performance-based cybersecurity requirements for critical aviation systems. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also commented on the attacks saying that airports must demonstrate efforts “to consider and address physical and cybersecurity risks relevant to the transportation mode and type and scale of the project.”
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