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French planes grounded by Windows worm

The French military, despite being warned by Microsoft that the Conficker virus might infect their computer systems, allegedly didn't take sufficient precautions. Result: grounded fighters.

I am not sure whom the French military is attacking these days. (I am told that relations with British tourists are much improved.)

But this morning, I happened upon peculiar information while accidentally scanning the French publication Liberation.

Apparently, in the past two weeks, some French fighter planes were grounded because the military had failed to take sufficient action (even though Microsoft had sent advance warning) to prevent the spread of a Windows-transmitted virus that some call Conficker, and the Liberation journalist, Jean-Dominique Merchet, calls Conflicker.

CC Gesal

Mr. Merchet quotes a publication that has somehow escaped my attention--Intelligence Online.

This extremely serious resource for allegedly secret stuff declared that the virus "brought down certain arms systems" and grounded the Navy's Dassault Rafale aircraft.

Clearly, I am not in a position to comment as to whether the French military responded appropriately to the Microsoft warning, though Intelligence Online insists that the incident "raises serious questions about the security of French military networks and their capacity to fight off computer attacks."

However, I would very much like to be reassured that civilian airlines are OK, as I have some flights coming up, and it's bad enough just thinking about bird strikes. Perhaps readers out there might offer some wise words about Conficker, Conflicker, or whatever it ought to be called.