By the year 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to implement a new method of tracking air traffic, called NextGen, but security experts warn that the system is vulnerable to cyber attacks that could inject ghost planes into real time air traffic monitors, NBC Bay Area reported. As part of the NextGen system, FAA plans to transition away from using ground-based radar imaging to monitor air traffic and replace it with the GPS satellite based technology known as ADS-B or Automatic Dependent Surveillance. The FAA says the technology will save travelers time, improve safety, and make flying more efficient. However, some experts within the aviation community warn that the ASD-B technology behind NextGen is not secure and vulnerable to attacks from computer hackers that could potentially disrupt airspace across the country, according to NBC Bay Area. Computer hacker Nick Foster claims to have exposed how ADS-B’s unencrypted signals can present a security concern, without any other safeguards. “We can prove without actually flying planes into the air traffic control system that it is actually possible to create these signals,” Foster told NBC Bay Area. NextGen technology is already being used on a trial basis in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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