When a drone catches a virus, the whole US military gets sick

The virus has infected computers controlling the long-range Predator and Reaper drones from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, according to the Wired story. Detected by the US military’s Host-based Security System, the virus enables the recording of keystrokes from the Creech computers used to give commands to the UAVs over Afghanistan and the Middle East.

According to sources cited by Wired, technicians have tried to remove the virus, but “it keeps coming back”, they said. The sources judged that the virus is “benign” but it has infected computers that contain classified information. So it seems unlikely that it is benign, given the nature of the information being gathered through the keylogging technology, which is also used by cybercriminals to steal confidential bank account information.

This is not the first security breach of UAVs. Video from US drones allegedly showing US forces firing on reporters and civilians in Baghdad was released by WikiLeaks in 2010. In addition, Iraqi insurgents were found to have US drone video on their laptops using cheap off the shelf software, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The US Air Force declined to comment on the Wired story.

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