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Southwest Network Security failure grounds flights and are now delayed

Southwest Airlines said flight delays Tuesday morning were the result of “data connection issues resulting from a firewall failure,” a problem that led to a brief ground stop. The Federal Aviation Administration lifted the ground stop for Southwest Airlines flights after earlier issuing the order, citing “equipment issues.” In a tweet at 11:35 a.m. Southwest said it had resumed operations. “Early this morning, a vendor-supplied firewall went down and connection to some operational data was… ( More...

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jeff slack 13
Norm must be rolling in his grave .........
wx1996 18
From the Cyber Security side of the world it looks like the failure of a single piece of hardware, a firewall. With no redundancy? The southwest Executives have IT on such a tight budget they do not have critical hardware redundancy. The Executives need to be fired. How do you run a large airline without resilient systems? After their Christmas melt down there is no blaming this on workers and hardware.
John Taylor 3
Agreed. After the Christmas debacle, word came out that they had cheaped out on their computer systems to pay bonuses and hoard profits rather than reinvest in data systems first. This whole thing is a self-inflicted wound.
F. M. 2
I've used cloud development before in admittedly a small web application for a small insurance company, but I can say with authority that between Microsoft, Amazon, Google and IBM, there are plenty of dynamically scalable (based on demand), optional redundancy and disaster recovery features in all of them. All you have to do is figure out if the cost is worth it and the cloud vendor is reliable and secure. I hope Southwest is already using some kind of cloud-based infrastructure and thinks long and hard about paying extra for redundancy and DR if they aren't already doing so.
rdlink 2
Exactly right. A single firewall should never bring down mission critical operations. Ever. Any IT budget for a firewall in a mission critical situation should be for two firewalls, multi-homed switches and multi-homed power supplies.
Jim Allen 1
You know.. we don’t know. It could’ve been a human error that meant to push a firmware upgrade out to the test side for testing and it hit the production side instead. Obviously not that I know except I work in IT and these things happen.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

James Simms 2
Why should he, only to continue to pound his head into a wall if the Financial & Operations Departments won’t spend anything for redundant systems?
Jaime Terrassa 5
i bet there is more to the story they are not telling we will never know what really happening.
darjr26 6
I understand that several of their AOL accounts went down at the same time.
John Underwood 4
What a shame that a billion dollar business is brought to its knees due to a computer failure. What did SW do before computers???
John Taylor 3
Abacus, fingers and toes...
Tim Dyck 2
The more we depend on computer software the more it lets us down...
Stephen Gordon 2
Firewall's fault. I was working fine and then bam, it went bad. REALLY?? Oh and it came from a vendor so it's not SW fault. Going down the drain quickly Southwest. Never trust a bean counter!!
Tim Payne 2
As someone with decades in Network Engineering and Security and years working in the air transport industry, some of the comments here are incredibly ignorant. While I have no internal details about this issue, it appears this has NOTHING to do with Southwest IT or a "network security failure". The FlightAware headline is clickbait, at best.

From the article - "Early this morning, a vendor-supplied firewall went down and connection to some operational data was unexpectedly lost,”. This tells me this is a point-to-point connection to a third-party application, and that the firewall on the Southwest end blew up for some reason. A device that SW had no control over. I've dealt with many of these types of connections over the years, and while it sucks not to have any access to the device, sometimes you have no choice in the matter. The same goes for the 'redundancy' comments. There are a lot of reasons why there might not have been redundant connections. Again, not ideal, but it may not be something that SW has any control over.
John Taylor 2
Why aren't other major airlines having these same issues? Are the other airlines farming out their firewalls? If so, why are they not having the same problems? This is clearly on Southwest's refusal to upgrade to a current, self-sufficient data system that other airlines are using.
Anthony Fiti 1
I’d argue they did have control - their contracts with the third party data vendors should stipulate uptime and infrastructure requirements, fail-over, etc. if it’s going to mess with your business, financial penalties aren’t enough to deal with 100s of grounded airplanes.
Stephen Gordon 1
You may have a point in there somewhere, but your arrogance is overwhelming.
victorbravo77 2
Sry didn't see your post. Mine was delayed. Like a Southwest flight.
Richard Luce 1
After the Tuesday debacle, SW systems were obviously still not communicating with each other properly. I was scheduled out of MDW on Wednesday night at 8pm. Flights appeared to be running on-time, so I was preparing for my hour commute in from the 'burbs when DM's started rolling in to my phone. 5:34pm, your flight now departs at 8:31pm; 5:36pm, your flight now departs at 11:15pm; 7:07pm, your flight now departs at 11:45pm; 8:57pm, your flight now departs at 12:15am; Each DM referred me to, which continued to reflect the original 8pm departure time. At this point I decided to call Customer Service to see what was going on. After listening to the delightful music for some time, the agent picked-up the call, and after I advised her the reason for my call and the DM's indicating the departure delayed by over 4 hours, she said "Oh no, the flight is due to depart at 9:54pm. As there was no way I could make it to MDW and get to the gate in 45 minutes. Her comment was that they still expected people to arrive at the airport as normal for the flight. I rescheduled for the next day. At 9:39pm I received a further DM advising that the flight would now depart at 12:45am.
Further, the following night, I took no chances, and arrived at MDW in plenty of time. Things looked promising. The aircraft was at the gate, the gate agents were ready, advising that the flight was going to be full, etc. Just after 7:30pm we were advised that boarding would commence shortly, and the notification screens were flashing "now boarding". Every body was lined up like good soldiers awaiting further instructions. Eventually we were advised that unfortunately there would be a delay as the crew "were in the airport but had not yet arrived at the gate". Needless to say, things went downhill from that point, and we eventually did not land at SRQ until after 1pm, 1 1/2 hours late.
I would have expected many apologies from everyone involved for the delay, but it appeared that the employees really didn't care how inconvenienced everyone was.
Certainly not the way to run an airline.
John Taylor 1
Southwest used to have such high ratings. They sure seem to be doing everything possible to destroy that reputation. Kind of like Boeing after its acquisition of M-D and putting their bean counters in charge. Destroyed the reputation of probably the finest airplane builder in the world. Southwest is doing the exact same thing; casting aside what made them great for bonuses and profit.
avionik99 -1
Southwest The "Wal-Mart" of Airlines. Do we expect anything less?
Stephen Gordon 0
Where does that put Alegiant or Frontier?
Michael Dealey 2
Dollar Tree?
sparkie624 -2
Could not have happened to a better bunch!


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