Top Dem questions whether hacking caused nationwide customs outage

Top Dem questions whether hacking caused nationwide customs outage

A top Democrat on Capitol Hill wants to know whether hacking caused a nationwide outage of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) systems, creating major delays at airports across the country on Monday evening.

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonSenate panel approves bill to speed up driverless cars Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump proclaims 'Cybersecurity Awareness Month' | Equifax missed chance to patch security flaw | Lawmakers await ex-CEO's testimony | SEC hack exposed personal data MORE (Fla.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, sent a letter to the head of the CBP on Tuesday demanding a full accounting of the incident and asking whether any hacking was involved.

A similar incident occurred in October 2015, Nelson noted.

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“We’ve got to figure out why this happened and how we’re going to prevent outages in the future,” Nelson wrote. “And, given the recent reports of suspected Russian hacking, we also have to be absolutely sure no foreign-sponsored bad actors were involved.”

The agency had already said in a statement that it found no evidence the outage was "malicious in nature."

The temporary outage, which lasted for approximately four hours, created lengthy waits and other headaches for travelers returning home from the New Year's holiday weekend.

While computers were shut down, travelers at some airports had to be processed by hand at international terminals impacted by the outage.

"CBP took immediate action to address the issue and CBP officers continued to process international travelers using alternative procedures at airports experiencing the disruption,” the agency said in a statement.

“Travelers at some ports of entry experienced longer than usual wait times as CBP officers processed travelers as quickly as possible while maintaining the highest levels of security.”

Systems at all airports are currently back online, according to the agency.