US weapons are open to being HACKED because they use stupid passwords

A report by the US Government Accountability Office has revealed that American defence systems are susceptible to hackers.

The report found that in some cases the Pentagon had not changed the default passwords on weapons systems and the testing team was able to guess the code in nine seconds.

The GAO criticised the Pentagon saying that it "does not know the full scale of its weapons system vulnerabilities".

Another test showed that hackers were able to gain complete control over another system and watched as officials scrambled to respond.

Systems were also vulnerable to having code changes or deleted. In one case 100GB of data was downloaded.

The New York Times reports that the "penetration testers" were able to send messages to operators. It read "insert two quarters to continue operating".

The Pentagon, under President Obama, had installed alarms which would sound when an intrusion was detected. However they sounded so frequently that people simply assumed every alert was a false alarm.

The problem stems from the move to systems that were not generally networked to modern ones which are. It is compounded by the fact that these weapons have multiple subsystems and millions of lines of code.

It only takes a flaw in one of those systems or subsystems for a hacker to gain access to the system.

The public version of the report is obviously not specific about which systems are open to hackers. Congress will, however, be told which of the $1.6 trillion of weapons could be compromised.

The report suggests that even the F-35 fighter jet was open to attack. The jets, which cost $89 million each have already been grounded because of a crash believed to be the result of faulty fuel lines.

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