Lawton-Ft. Sill Airport responds to Homeland Security alert

Lawton-Ft. Sill Airport responds to Homeland Security alert

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - The Department of Homeland Security issued a security alert geared towards small planes, warning that modern flight systems are vulnerable to hacking.

The warning from Homeland Security says that small planes can be hacked easily if someone gains physical access to an aircraft, but officials from the Lawton airport said that’s very hard to do.

“A lot of our security is focused on the commercial side of the airport, this actually becomes more the responsibility of aircraft manufacturers and the owner of the aircraft,” said Barbara McNally, the Airport Director.

“It’s the responsibility of the owner to look at their software on their telemetry system, and they can put the tamper proof tape on their doors to secure the aircraft,” said Airport Security Coordinator Archie Campbell.

Even with the responsibility falling on aircraft owners, McNally said the entire property is still monitored by their staff.

“Airport security, physical security of the airport is our responsibility. We have perimeter fences, we all have the security measures that we have in place at this airport to make sure we know who is coming in and out,” said McNally.

To ensure that, anyone with access to the airport must have a badge, and Campbell said those badges aren’t easy to acquire.

“For someone to obtain a badge, they must have a badge sponsor, through an entity here. They have to go through a criminal history check, a threat assessment, and then we determine what areas they have access to,” said Campbell.

McNally said decades ago, most airports did not have as stringent of guidelines so they were more vulnerable to break ins, but now every airport is required to follow the same security protocol.

“Maybe before 9/11, but since then all the airports have been required to put additional security measures in place. Some that are visible, some that we don’t talk about. But things have changed a lot at airports,” said McNally.

Last week, someone tried to break in to an airplane at the airport, and since then Campbell said he can’t be too specific, but the airport has taken additional security measures..

In the Homeland Security Alert, it said someone having unrestricted access at any time is unlikely, but it’s a good reminder for airport security to remain vigilant about physical and cyber security procedures.

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