Pakistan Cyber Force: USZ Military Drones infected with mysterious Computer Virus

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

USZ Military Drones infected with mysterious Computer Virus

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A fleet of USZ military drones on a Nevada Air Force base has been infected by a keylogger virus that tracks every key and button their pilots press, Wired.com reported Friday. The virus was first noticed by officials at Creech Air Force Base nearly two weeks ago using the base's security system. It logged every keystroke of the pilots in the control room on the base as they remotely flew Predator and Reaper drones on missions over Afghanistan and other battle zones.

USZ virus infected drone
There has been no confirmation of information being lost or sent to an outside source, but the virus has been resistant to military efforts to clear it from the system. "We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back", a source told Wired. It's not immediately clear whether the virus hit the system intentionally or by accident. But the existence of ordinary-seeming computer viruses on what should be the most extraordinarily secure of military systems is far from shocking, said Anup Ghosh, a former scientist with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and chief scientist with security company Invoices. They're just computers, after all.


"The drones are controlled by standard PCs," Ghosh told FoxNews "None of this should be surprising." The system should be replaced or "re-imaged" with a virus-free, bit-for-bit copy of the data on the drive in order to get rid of the infection, he said. "If they are connected to a larger network they will be infected again", he said. The virus was introduced when the Air Force was transferring data maps between systems using external hard drives, he said. Very quickly the Air Force protective network tracked the virus. "The system worked," the Air Force official said. In the last 12 hours the Air Force ran some clearing software to make sure the viral agents weren't lying dormant in the system.

They found some non-descript viral agents at what was described as a "third- or fourth-level function" and dealt with them. The USZ military has increasingly been relying upon drones to conduct surveillance and air strikes on enemy targets. The Air force currently uses 150 MQ1 Predator drones and 50 MQ9 Reaper drones over Afghanistan and Iraq. This is not the first time that USZ drones have been infected. In 2009, USZ troops discovered drone footage on the laptops of Iraqi insurgents. The insurgents had stolen the video with easy to access software that cost $26, Wired reported.

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