Wired is reporting that a virus has infected the flight systems controlling the Predator and Reaper drone aircraft in the Middle East. The systems have been infected for about two weeks and it appears to be a keylogger-type of virus. Further, the virus has resisted attempts to disinfect the system but the military think it’s benign.
You can read the full article yourself, but as an IT professional I read it with utter horror and dismay. Here we have a (potentially) armed aircraft apparently still operating with an unknown virus in its systems. Does this ring alarm bells for anyone else?
I work in a public sector organisation and our approach to a PC with a virus infection is to pull the plug on the infected equipment and disconnect it from the network until we are able to clean the PC, regardless of whether we think its benign or otherwise. We’re concerned that data might be wiped out. You’d think that the military might have concerns about people being wiped out by a malfunctioning drone but apparently not.
And then there’s the question of how the system came to be infected. Again there seems to be a remarkable lack of knowledge. No doubt we’ll find that the USB ports were unlocked, there was no antivirus software and anybody could plug in a memory stick at will.
Looks like there’s a market opportunity for an AV company…
Eric Davidson from Flir Systems shows Todd their latest hand-held pocket night-vision scope. Building on their background in military products, this scope is lighter, smaller and cheaper. Aimed at the outdoorsman (and woman), it runs off a re-chargeable li-ion battery for around five hours and can be charged from USB. Available from April.
One of the coolest products I found that is perfect for the traveling military person, someone on the go or even for someone looking to get rid of their monthly phone bill was being demonstrated by a company called MagicJack.
I was able to get a MagicJack and plug it into my USB port on my Computer and I was making free phone calls in about 5 minutes. The software is loaded on the device and it installs virtually automatically. I was able to pick out a area code exchange of my choice and was dialing out and having people dial in. Sound quality was very good.
Whats cool about the MagicJack is that plugs into your PC USB port then you plug a regular phone into it and your good to go. Pick up the phone and you have a dial tone. Very inexpensive product.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is developing its own, private, computer network and web, a la the Internet and World Wide Web. The new computer network web, called the Global Information Grid (GIG) will provide military commanders a “God’s-eye view” of the battle. The GIG will enable real-time digital communication and data dissemination through a familiar technology, similar to the World Wide Web, anytime and anyplace, under any conditions, with requisite security.
Amplifying the GIG’s capabilities is the initiative the DoD’s communications transformation is Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE). According to the Defense Information Systems Agency website, the GIG-BE will create a ubiquitous bandwidth-available environment to improve national security intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and command and control information-sharing. To implement GIG-BE, The program will provide increased bandwidth and diverse physical access to approximately 100 critical sites in the continental United States and in the Pacific and European theaters. These locations will be interconnected via an expanded GIG core. Specifically, GIG-BE will connect key intelligence, command, and operational locations with high bandwidth capability over physically diverse routes, and the vast majority of these locations will be connected by a state-of-the-art optical mesh network design.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the U.S. government would be designing its own secure, stable, and reliable web. What surprised me, once I started researching this topic, is how much detailed data is available on the public web. Maybe I should come out from under my shell more often.
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