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US mass flight grounding sent conspiracy theorists into overdrive

Flights Grounded Across The U.S. After FAA Computer Outage

The US as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all flights following a computer malfunction - causing chaos across the US.

Along with grounding all flights, the FAA paused all domestic flights until 9 am EST. More than 2,500 flights in and out of the US were delayed.

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The eerie silence and rare occasion of grounding flights sparked concern on social media where people began wondering what the cause of the computer malfunction was - with some quickly reaching for unfounded conspiracies and other theories.

People tossed out ideas like a cybersecurity attack on the FAA computer system, an incoming physical attack, or a national security issue.

Although tempting to theorize why the computer system shut down, the FAA put out a statement on its website explaining the cause of the outage.

They said their Notice to Air Mission system (NOTAM) had failed following an overnight outage.

"The FAA has ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures until 9 a.m. Eastern Time to allow the agency to validate the integrity of flight and safety information," the statement said.

Cyberattacks have become a hot topic, and one of concern, in the last few years.

In 2021, the Colonial Pipeline was subject to a ransomware attack leading to a chaotic gas shortage crisis.

Combined with recent air disruptions caused by the holiday travel, people had a difficult time believing the incident was not an attack of some sort.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre notified people on Twitter that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the situation and while "there is no evidence of a cyberattack at this point" they would be asking the Department of Transportation to conduct a full investigation.

Although a formal investigation will likely occur in the coming months, people online still theorized who was to blame for the freak incident.

Names like Vladimir Putin, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and even President Biden were thrown around.



Buttigieg wrote on Twitter, "FAA is working to resolve this issue swiftly and safely so that air traffic can resume normal operations, and will continue to provide updates."

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