Skip to main content

Filed under:

US Air Force drone systems infected with common malware, drone control not affected

Share this story

US Air Force computers which control drones in Afghanistan were hit with viruses in Nevada.

  • T.C. Sottek

    Oct 14, 2011

    T.C. Sottek

    US military says computer virus wasn't targeting drones

    Reaper Drone
    Reaper Drone

    If you've been worried that some malevolent, genius hacker in a remote bunker (or basement) has been plotting to take over the US's fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, you can crawl out from under that kitchen table — the US Air Force said in an official statement that the computer virus detected in drone military systems is a credential stealer, not a keylogger, and was not specifically targeted toward them. As it turns out, the stand-alone Windows-based ground control systems for the drones — and not the drones themselves — were infected with common malware used to pickpocket log-ins and passwords from online gamers. The Air Force says the virus is more of a nuisance than a threat, and that it is not designed to transmit data or video, or corrupt data on the infected computer. If anything, we're most worried that ambitious gamers are trying to get a leg up by piloting the real deal.

    Read Article >
  • Laura June

    Oct 8, 2011

    Laura June

    US military's drone fleet struck with computer virus


    The US military's large fleet of Predator and Reaper drones stationed in Afghanistan has been hit with a computer virus which logs every keystroke of the pilots flying their missions. The virus was first detected at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada (where the vast majority of military drones are controlled from) about two weeks ago, and while the military has been unable to remove it from its computers, no missions have been stalled because of the infection.

    A source close to the situation told Wired that the virus seems to be benign, as no confidential information has leaked in spite of the fact that each time the virus is removed, it returns. It is also unclear whether the virus is just an unintentional, accidentally acquired piece of malware or not, and they do not know how far the malware has spread, though machines with both classified and unclassified information have been affected. The US military has, so far, not commented officially on the situation.

    Read Article >