Holy Sh*t, A Virus Has Infected the US Drone Fleet

Illustration for article titled Holy Sh*t, A Virus Has Infected the US Drone Fleet

Wired's Danger Room has learned that a computer virus has infected the United States' Predator and Reaper drones. The virus is a keylogger that keeps track of every pilots' keystroke as they perform missions over Afghanistan and other locations.


The folks at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada (where most of the drone missions are controlled from) found the virus two weeks ago but have had trouble removing it. Danger Room's source ominously says, "We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back. We think it's benign. But we just don't know." There haven't been any leaks of classified information yet (that they know of, at least) but it's extremely troubling that no one knows how it got there.

One theory is that because the Predator and Reaper crews use removable hard drives to load maps and videos, the virus could have spread from those drives. The drives have been used in both classified and unclassified computers so confidential data could have been logged and sent somewhere else.

The ramifications of this virus will be HUGE and represents the new war front our military has to fight. If the keylogger was maliciously put there by hackers, they now have access to a treasure trove of classified files, missions, etc. that could put the drone fleet and other military serviceman at risk. This is not good. [Danger Room]


The drones themselves aren't infected, which is good, because that would mean that there was custom-written malware directed at them, since they are definitely not freaking x86 PCs running Windows. But the controller terminals back in the US *are* PCs running Windows (probably a bad move, but whatcha gonna do?), and they have malware. Probably they keep coming back via removable media. Thank God, this is not as bad as a hacker (like many reading) who is a little up to date on these issues would guess from the headline.