‘Premature’ to rule out cyberattack on FAA: Ex-NTSB official

Rush Hour

(NewsNation) — The Federal Aviation Administration says it experienced an outage in its computer system Wednesday that prompted a nationwide ground halt, and the White House ruled out a cyberattack.

 Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg tweeted that there was no evidence of a cyberattack, and a preliminary investigation traced the issue back to a “damaged database file.”

But Greg Feith, a former senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said “it may be a little premature” to make any determination, given recent attacks on electrical grids.

He joined “Rush Hour” on Wednesday to discuss the malfunction of the software, which many experts have noted is outdated. You can watch Feith’s full interview above.

“We won’t really know (the cause) until they get into the investigative mode. Right now, they are talking about cyberattacks — that’s always a possibility and I think that’s still on the table,” Feith said. “They’re going to have to do a very in-depth study of not only the software but the hardware and the vulnerabilities of that system.”

A Senate committee said Wednesday it will investigate the outage that caused thousands of cancellations and delays in the early morning hours. Service was restored and planes were getting back in the air shorty before 9 a.m. ET.

“We will be looking into what caused this outage and how redundancy plays a role in preventing future outages,” Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell said. “The public needs a resilient air transportation system.”

White House press secretary Karine Jeane-Pierre said the White House does not have evidence that the outage was caused by a cyberattack. However, President Joe Biden directed the Department of Transportation to conduct a full investigation into the cause, she added.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said an initial inquiry pointed to a “damaged database file” as the cause of the outage. He added there does not appear to be evidence of a cyberattack.

© 1998 - 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation