Computer virus hits US military drone fleet

Technology > Security

Photo by: U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Travis L. Simmons via Wikimedia Commons


A computer virus has infected the US military drone fleet, Noah Shachtman of reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter. The virus has specifically infected the cockpits of the Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots' every keystroke as they remotely fly missions to war zones.

The military’s Host Based Security System detected the virus two weeks ago, according to the news outlet, which added that the virus has so far not appeared to have affected overseas missions by either interfering with pilots' navigation or leaking classified information.

If the virus is a keylogger, classified data could've been or would eventually be logged and then leaked to an outside agent, the report said.

Network security specialists, however, tell Wired that the virus keeps returning to computers at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada despite repeated attempts to remove it. “We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” a source familiar with the network infection said. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know,” he added.

Spokesman for Air Combat Command, Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, said: "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."