- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Controls were so lax at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport that rooms with sensitive explosive detection equipment were being used as break areas by airline workers, complete with refrigerators, microwaves, blankets and TVs, according to a watchdog report made public Wednesday.

Rooms that housed computer servers that help run metal detectors, baggage screeners and other safety equipment were often accessible to anyone and not always locked, sometimes held open by duct tape, said a report by the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general.

The Transportation Security Administration took action quickly after the inspector general’s report to shore up security and shut down the pop-up break rooms, but investigators still expressed concern that not enough was being done to protect the systems in the event of a cyberattack or even a power outage that could erase or disrupt needed data.

“The information technology security controls implemented at these sites had deficiencies that, if exploited, could result in the loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability of the components’ information technology systems,” the inspector general said in the report.

A response from the Homeland Security Department said the agency is working on continual improvement, including upgrading power supplies to the computer server rooms and making sure temperature controls are set so they won’t harm the electronics.

As for preventing cyberattacks, the department said, “TSA servers are scanned on a monthly basis and the results or data feeds are subsequently submitted to the DHS Vulnerability Management Branch.”

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the fourth-busiest in North America in terms of passengers, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, with more than 60 million fliers in 2013.

 

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