American Drones Infected!
“In order to achieve its function, the malware must run on a computer that contains the video game in question. Those games were not on the systems in question,” Andy Roake of Air Force Space Command public affairs said in an e-mail to CNN. “The malware was unable to perform its function, and is just a nuisance that must be removed.” Source: CNN
America’s fleet of super sleek pilotless drones have had their “cockpits” infected with a virus that the government is unsure is benign. The infection hasn’t affected the drones’ ability to fly and flight operations haven’t been interupted but it does track every single keystoke that a pilot makes while piloting the drone from abroad. Nearly all of the flight operations for American drones take place out of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada even though the drones themselves are in Afghanistan or elsewhere. According to Wired the government tried to rid their computers at Creech of the virus but the virus defeated all attempts of removal. Built by General Atomics in San Diego the Predator and Reaper drones have been used extensively in Afghanistan and Pakistan to precisely track and engage enemy combatants with a long track record of success.
The virus was detected nearly two weeks ago however as of yet there have been no confirmed leaks of “classified” information. Security experts are unsure if the keylogger was uploaded purposely or by mistake because pilots are allowed to insert USB drives to upload new maps and transfer movies of their flights. The U.S. military issued a ban on portable discs and drives in an effort to prevent more Bradley Manning’s from stealing classified information.
While Wired has the story more than covered I am interested to know one thing that was not mentioned in the source article. Instead of looking to steal classified information could the virus and keylogger be used to replicate the technology behind our remote cockpits? I’m sure that technology is classified but it’s not thousands of pages of documents on the nitty gritty aspects of war. Many nations are desperate to develop their own drone technology since the U.S. has so boldly demonstrated its amazing capabilities and it isn’t beyond those without the know how or ambition to try and steal it. As Wired points out the drone fleet is one of the most vulnerable part of our Air Force because no one seems concerned with securing its data transmissions. I hate to say it but the Air Force invited this virus into its systems and now it can’t get rid of it. Shall we take bets on whether or not it was China?