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Last week, we posted about how building owners and managers can protect against hackers, but who will protect the federal government?

Federal Buildings at Risk of AC, Heating Hacks

Last week, we posted about how building owners and managers can protect against hackers, but who will protect the federal government?

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that federal facilities are at risk of having their buildings hacked. This means electricity use, heating, air conditioning, security cameras and more are at risk. The report said this could cause major security risks and harm these government agencies.  

As the report says, no one in the Department of Homeland Security has tried mitigating these risks thus far, as they are still in the initial stages of understanding these risks. NextGov said this could lead to some dangerous situations, and pointed out times where hackers have gotten the best of a hacked facility.

Take for instance a 2009 incident involving a security guard at a Dallas hospital who uploaded a malicious program onto the hospital’s computers. The computer worm ended up boring its way into the systems that controlled heating, ventilation and air-conditioning for parts of the hospital.

In 2006, computers controlling Los Angeles’ traffic lights were hacked, snarling traffic and wreaking havoc on commuters.

Over the past three years, incidents involving access-control systems reported to DHS have increased by 74 percent -- from 140 incidents to 243, according to GAO.

It remains to be seen whether the federal government will take proper precautions against hackers, but facility owners and operators must be sure their buildings are well guarded in the physical world and cyber world.

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