U.S. drones' control systems hit by virus, Wired says

Computers used to remotely control unmanned military aircraft have been infected with a keylogger for two weeks, according to the report.

Drones have become popular in the United States' present military engagements. This one is a Northrup Grumman Global Hawk shown at a 2010 airshow.
Drones, aka unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, have become popular in the United States' present military engagements. This one is a Northrup Grumman Global Hawk shown at a 2010 airshow. Stephen Shankland/CNET

A virus that keeps a log of what people type has found a persistent foothold in the computers that pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada use to remotely control the U.S. military's unmanned drone aircraft, Wired reported today.

It's not clear whether the virus was deliberately aimed at the military computers or whether it got there through the general spread of infectious malware, "but the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech's computers," Wired reported, citing three unnamed sources.

The Defense Department declined to comment on the matter.

Wired reported that the virtual pilots continue to run missions from the Air Force base and that the virus was discovered two weeks ago.

Also unclear is whether the keylogger software has revealed any secure data. But it is running on classified computer networks, Wired said.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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