The US Department of Defense is planning to spend $1.6 trillion on its new major weapons systems. Keeping a watch on this, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined all the weapon system. According to the report, nearly all of Pentagon’s weapons systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks.
GAO testing teams found critical vulnerabilities in weapons systems. These weapon systems were under development or being tested between 2012 and 2017. GAO test team reports that these weapon systems can be hacked very easily.
In one case, a test team broke into a weapon system in less than an hour. The team gained full control within a day. Another team took control of an operator’s terminals.
Weapons Systems vulnerabilities:
GAO submits a 50 pages brief report to Senate Armed Services Committee. According to GAO, the advanced weapon systems also include advanced missile systems excluding F-35. Pentagon officials acknowledge that for years the department is facing cybersecurity problems.
Not only the department but also military services and defense contractors. Other rivals try to steal data to gain an economic or technological advantage. The report doesn’t name potential attackers. But it noted that some “advanced threat actors” are aware of the vulnerabilities. Which is a very serious threat to US defense.
The submitted report contains 50 pages. It briefly describes the tests. The report points out many serious threats. If you want to study this case in detail. You can read the GAO Report here. Some important threats mentioned in the report are as follows:
- Defaults passwords were not changed, even a changed password can be cracked within seconds.
- Test team takes control of computer terminals using simple tools and techniques. They see what the operators were seeing in real time.
- The team was able to send a pop-up message to the computer terminals. The message instructs them to insert two quarters to continue operating.
- Examination teams were also able to copy, change and delete data.
- One of the teams downloads up to 100 Gigabytes data from the systems.
“The Pentagon has taken steps to improve weapons system cybersecurity over the past few years. But officials still probably do not know the full extent of the problems because testing has been limited,” says GAO.