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FAA: ‘Unintentionally deleted files’ prompted computer outage

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • The FAA said Thursday that the computer system outage last week was caused by the “unintentional” removal of files.
  • The glitch temporarily grounded all U.S. airline departures.
  • So far, the agency found no evidence of a cyber-attack or malicious intent, per the agency.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that the temporary suspension of all U.S. domestic airline departures earlier this month was caused by a contractor who mistakenly and unintentionally deleted files.

On January 11, around 10,000 flights were canceled and delayed nationwide due to a computer glitch. Damage to a database file had already been suggested by the FAA as a probable cause of the incident.

During the hours-long outage, pilots couldn’t access the system known as Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM), which provides information about hazards, changes to airport facilities and information that can affect flights.

A preliminary report showed that “contract personnel unintentionally deleted files while working to correct synchronization between the live primary database and a backup database,” the FAA said.

The investigation is continuing, but the agency said it hasn’t found any evidence linking the incident to a cyber attack or malicious intent.

The FAA has made the necessary repairs and taken steps to make the NOTAM “more resilient” it said.

The difficulties sparked fresh criticism on Capitol Hill and throughout Washington of the FAA, which hasn’t had a confirmed administrator since March.

The halt also came in the wake of a large-scale US aviation meltdown over the Christmas holiday as a storm brought unseasonably cold temperatures and travel chaos to the majority of the country.

Source: ABC News

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