The Federal Aviation Administration’s aging cyber security practices leave the National Air Traffic Control System and passengers nearly defenseless when it comes to cyber attacks, according to a new report.

"Until FAA effectively implements security controls, establishes stronger agency-wide information security risk management processes, fully implements its NAS information security program, and ensures that remedial actions are addressed in a timely manner, the weaknesses GAO identified are likely to continue, placing the safe and uninterrupted operation of the nation’s air traffic control system at increased and unnecessary risk," the GAO wrote in the report.

Cyber security expert David Kennedy appeared on "Fox and Friends" today to weigh in on what needs to be done to fix the problem.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted that at any given moment there are 7,000 aircraft in the air over the U.S., and air traffic controllers handle approximately 64 million takeoffs and landings yearly.

Kennedy said all of these flights are susceptible to cyber attacks because the FAA is using antiquated technology and practices that are "basically ancient."

"Hackers can actually infiltrate a lot of these portions of the FAA and actually take over certain pieces of planes, make planes appear out of nowhere," Kennedy explained. "One of the most alarming things that came out of [the report] was that they have no ability to detect if a hack occurs or not."

He said the FAA is going to have to spend a significant amount of time overhauling their security program.

Since hackers are continuously updating how they attack computer systems, defenses must also be continuously updated.

"Since they are so far behind right now, it's going to take a significant amount of work just to get them up to speed."

Watch the "Fox and Friends" clip above.


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