U.S. military weapon systems developed from 2012 to 2017 are vulnerable to cyber attacks, and the Pentagon has been slow to focus on improving them, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report published Tuesday.
The report said cybersecurity testers were able to "take control of systems relatively easily and operate largely undetected," and added that aircraft, ships, combat vehicles, radios, and satellites remain vulnerable.
Once inside, testers "were often able to move throughout a system, escalating their privileges until they had taken full or partial control of a system," the report specifies. "In one case, the test team took control of the operators' terminals. They could see, in real time, what the operators were seeing on their screens and could manipulate the system. They were able to disrupt the system and observe how the operators responded."
In another case, it took a two-person team just one hour to gain initial access to a weapon system, "and one day to gain full control of the system they were testing."
Some testers reported they were able to download, delete, or change troves of system data, including one team that downloaded 100 gigabytes.
According to the GAO, the Department of Defense "plans to spend $1.6 trillion to develop its current portfolio of major weapon systems."
The report was requested by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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