Preventing a Repeat: How Secure Code and Regular Audits Can Help Avoid Computer Malfunctions at the FAA

Everyone was rushing around to get to their gates like it was any other morning at the airport. All planes were suddenly delayed owing to a computer error, and an announcement was made over the loudspeaker. The FAA had discovered a technical problem and was working diligently to fix it.

Many passengers were understandably irritated at first, but eventually came to accept the situation for what it was. They were aware that the FAA had to be extra careful to make sure all flights were risk-free before they took off. However, as more and more time passed and the computer glitch remained unfixed, tempers flared.

The FAA made the unusual decision to close every airport in the United States. It was uncertain when travelers would be able to reach their destinations. Without a clear conclusion in sight, it was impossible for the airlines to offer their customers with answers.

Meanwhile, the FAA’s IT staff worked around the clock to restore service to the systems. They realized that a virus had invaded their network, resulting in a malfunctioning computer. Complexity necessitated significant troubleshooting and cleaning. It was a long procedure isolating and removing the infection from the system.

The problem worsened as the days went. The public and government leaders put significant pressure on the FAA to restore airport operations. Still, the IT staff made steady work, and the virus was ultimately eradicated as full functioning was restored to the systems.

Last but not least, the FAA granted the go-ahead, and airports around the nation started opening again. In the end, everyone was allowed to go on with their trips, but the episode has left a lasting impression.

It highlighted the need to invest in cybersecurity and safeguard our nation’s essential infrastructure in light of how integral these systems are to modern life.

This Python script does a system-wide file scan, comparing each file’s hash value to a whitelist of known-good files. For security purposes, files will be identified with a hash similar to a digital fingerprint in that it is produced based on the data within the file.

To find potentially harmful or undesired files, the script compares your files with the good files from the database.

import os
import hashlib

def hash_file(filename):
   """"This function returns the SHA-1 hash
   of the file passed into it"""

   # make a hash object
   h = hashlib.sha1()

   # open file for reading in binary mode
   with open(filename,'rb') as file:

       # loop till the end of the file
       chunk = 0
       while chunk != b'':
           # read only 1024 bytes at a time
           chunk =

   # return the hex representation of digest
   return h.hexdigest()

def scan_files():
    """This function scans all files in the directory and subdirectories,
    and compares their hash with a predefined list of known safe files"""

    # known safe files
    safe_files = {
        "example.txt": "3858f62230ac3c915f300c664312c63f9c84301b",
        "program.exe": "5f5c2a2f5d07c5c5d08c5c5d09c5c5d10c5c5d11"

    # scan all files in directory and subdirectories
    for root, dirs, files in os.walk("."):
        for file in files:
            file_path = os.path.join(root, file)
            file_hash = hash_file(file_path)
            # check if file hash is in the known safe files
            if file_hash in safe_files.values():
                print("Unsafe file:", file_path)


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