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Airports' passport controls SHUT DOWN by 'malware' - report

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Border control systems at both of Istanbul's main airports were thrown into chaos last Friday following a suspected malware outbreak.

The Istanbul provincial security directorate’s PolNet database system temporarily broke down on 26 July, affecting systems at both Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen International airports. The snafu affected passport control systems for hours, resulting in long delays for passengers forced to queue at border control points and delayed flights, according to the Doğan news agency.

Turkish news outlet the Hurriyet Daily News blamed the problems on an unnamed computer virus and an alleged cyber attack, but this remains unconfirmed. Other Turkish-language reports refer to an unexplained system malfunction that hit around 6.30am on Friday.

PolNet is the Computer Network and Information System of the Turkish National Police, a Turkish government website explains. The English-language site adds that the system "connects over 3,000 locations [with]each other, which [consist of] 81 provincial police departments, 100 border gates and other small units".

Police officers in the field are able to access national databases via a police network linked through the Police Intra-net (PolNet).

Circumstances suggest that the reported problems last Friday were temporary and limited to the country's border control systems. ®

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