U.S. Predator and Reaper drones have recently been affected by a computer virus. The virus was detected two-weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, as reported by Wired.com. It has logged pilots’ every key stroke as they fly missions over Afghanistan and other war zones remotely.
Currently, it is not known how far the virus has spread or whether the virus and its payload were introduced intentionally or by accident. What is known is that the infection has hit both classified and unclassified machines at the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, where the missions are flown from.
“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” said a source familiar with the network infection. “We think its benign, but we just don’t know.”
According to Wired.com, many Reapers and Predators don’t encrypt the video they transmit to U.S. troops on the ground. ReportedlyU.S. forces discovered in the summer of 2009 multiple days and hours of drone footage on the laptops of Iraqi insurgents.
Technicians at Creech are currently trying get the virus off of their ground control station machines. Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, a spokesman for Air Combat Command 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.”