Host Based Security Systems discovered a virus two weeks ago in the cockpit of a few U.S drones stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada , which are normally used for missions all around the world.
According to Wired, the keylogger seems to have infected Predator and Reaper drones and by silently operating in their structure it logged every command launched by pilots.
The piece of malware doesn’t seem to have any destructive effect and so far it’s unknown how it got in the systems, but most likely it got there by accident.
The biggest problem so far was that the IT security staff that tried to remove it had a hard time doing so as the virus kept reappearing after it had been removed.
“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back. We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know,” revealed a source for the Danger Room.
Finally, after numerous attempts, the malicious element was permanently eliminated, but in order to achieve this, they had to wipe the entire hard drive of the devices and rebuild the system completely.
Air Force representatives didn’t wish to comment on the subject but they claim that the incident hasn’t caused any panic.
“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,” said ACC spokesman, Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis.
“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.”
Even though this seems to be an isolated incident, drones are known to have weaknesses and if sensitive information should be leaked on public networks, disaster could follow. If this is really a case of a “regular” virus, gotten there by mistake, it shouldn’t be a reason to get alarmed, but the US military should really get their information security policies in place. source: softpedia