US Federal Aviation Administration criticised over background checks.
The US General Accounting Office (GAO) released the findings of a congressional investigation into the way the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) scrutinises contractors on 13 June.
The report has found that FAA officials do not adequately enforce the organisation's internal policy regarding background checks for contractors, even when the work being carried out could make them a possible risk to air safety.
The report reveals that the FAA relies on a five-layered security system to protect its computer systems. This includes personnel security; protection of computer facilities from unauthorized physical entry; construction of firewalls between information systems to limit the access of an intruder who breaches a single system; site-specific coding of information and redundancy of systems to guarantee availability of backups.
The GAO has apparently found flaws in all of the layers, indicating therefore that the FAA's computer systems are vulnerable anyway - even if the security personnel background check for contractors was enforced to its full extent.
FAA officials have apparently acknowledged that they need to be more thorough in conducting background checks and state that the organisation has already started targeting contractors working on high risk systems. However the checks are expected to take some months during which time the GAO has said that contractors remaining unchecked still have access to the FAA's computer systems, facilities and other resources according to United Press International.
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