U.S. Drone Controllers Said To Be Infected By Computer Virus

Discussion in 'Americas' started by nrj, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    Let's say you have people using computers to control unmanned aircraft that are useful for both gathering information and destroying targets on other continents.

    If you had a choice, those would probably not be the computers you'd like to see infected by a virus — but that's what has happened to some U.S. systems that control Predator and Reaper drones, according to Wired'sDanger Room blog.


    [​IMG]

    According to Noah Schactman of Wired, three different people have confirmed the presence of the virus.
    The infected computers are at Nevada's Creech Air Force Base, where operators control dozens of military drones flying over Afghanistan and other areas. And so far, at least, the virus has neither hindered remote control of the drones nor funneled classified information elsewhere.

    But the virus, which seems to have been designed to log keystrokes, has also proven very difficult to eradicate.
    "We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back," one of Schactman's sources says. "We think it's benign. But we just don't know."

    The revelation that some of the world's most sophisticated and lethal unmanned machines could be vulnerable to something as basic as a keylogging virus can only cause concern — especially considering Mark's recent report on drones possibly being used for "automated killing" in the future.

    U.S. Drone Controllers Said To Be Infected By Computer Virus : The Two-Way : NPR
     
  2.  
  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,539
    Likes Received:
    6,539
    US drones hit by computer virus

    US drones hit by computer virus: Report | Deccan Chronicle

    America's remote controlled kill machines, the Predator and Reaper drones which fly hunt missions over Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, have been hit by a computer virus and network specialist can't seem to get rid of it.


    The virus has infected Creech Air Force base in Nevada from where the robotic machines fly globally, Los Angeles Times reported.


    But, media report said so far the virus hasn't hindered global missions of the drones and there's been no leak of classified information.


    The infection, first reported by Wired magazine two weeks back is allegedly logging pilots' every keystroke as they carry out the missions. The virus has remained on the drones' computer system despite multiple efforts to remove it.


    "We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back... We think it's benign," Wired magazine reported.


    "Military network security specialists aren't sure whether the virus and its so-called 'keylogger' payload were introduced intentionally or by accident; it may be a common piece of malware that just happened to make its way into these sensitive networks," the magazine said.


    The specialists don't know exactly how far the virus has spread. Something is going on, but it has not had any impact on the missions overseas.


    The Creech Air Force Base public affairs office responded to inquiries about the reports with a statement: "We generally do not discuss specific vulnerabilities, threats, or responses to our computer networks, since that helps people looking to exploit or attack our systems to refine their approach. We invest a lot in protecting and monitoring our systems to counter threats and ensure security, which includes a comprehensive response to viruses, worms, and other malware we discover."

    The magazine said the drones don't exactly have the most rigorous security protocols and cites the example in 2009 when insurgents in Iraq were able to capture unencrypted video footage from the drones using a piece of cheap software.

    Drones are widely used in US military operations, especially as ground troops are withdrawn. Last week, a drone strike killed American-born jihadi Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, along with two other militants.
     
  4. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,539
    Likes Received:
    6,539
    looks like the higher than mountain friend is helping pakistan against the drones??
     
  6. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    First it was hack to grab drone video feed now controller hack :facepalm:

    When is Pentagon's next internal security review?
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,539
    Likes Received:
    6,539
    I would not be suprised to see chinese get their hands on a predator or a reaper very soon.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    The Chinese are very industrious and ingenuous!
     
  9. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Messages:
    2,333
    Likes Received:
    216
    Location:
    Gurgaon/Noida
    The biggest issue here is where such a common virus creating so much problems for such sophisticated systems. Is it possible that this can be a deliberate act ? That's what is bugging the folks Creech air base the most, probably.
     
  10. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Messages:
    4,835
    Likes Received:
    2,169
    Most probably someone just used his private pendrive or mobile HDD and coneccted it with military computers, these computers are not connected with internet so no outside attack possible, rather soldiers were just careless.

    And well, any software is vurnabale to even simplest virus, a lesson for future.
     
  11. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    I wonder if Bradley Manning was ever at Creech AFB...
     
  12. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
  13. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA

Share This Page