NPR : News

U.S. Drone Controllers Said To Be Infected By Computer Virus

Let's say you have people using computers to control unmanned aircraft that are useful for both gathering information and destroying targets on other continents. If you had a choice, those would probably not be the computers you'd like to see infected by a virus — but that's what has happened to some U.S. systems that control Predator and Reaper drones, according to Wired's Danger Room blog.

According to Noah Schactman of Wired, three different people have confirmed the presence of the virus.

The infected computers are at Nevada's Creech Air Force Base, where operators control dozens of military drones flying over Afghanistan and other areas. And so far, at least, the virus has neither hindered remote control of the drones nor funneled classified information elsewhere.

But the virus, which seems to have been designed to log keystrokes, has also proven very difficult to eradicate.

"We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back," one of Schactman's sources says. "We think it's benign. But we just don't know."

The revelation that some of the world's most sophisticated and lethal unmanned machines could be vulnerable to something as basic as a keylogging virus can only cause concern — especially considering Mark's recent report on drones possibly being used for "automated killing" in the future.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

On Television, More Transgender Characters Come Into Focus

Now that it's more common to see gay characters on TV, is the medium turning to transgender people for fresh stories? NPR's Neda Ulaby looks at TV's crop of transgender and "gender fluid" characters.
NPR

Slowly And Sweetly, Vietnam's Chocolate Industry Grows

French colonists planted cacao in Vietnam in the 1800s, but the crop was outpaced by coffee and cashews. Now French expats are helping the country become a respected producer of high-end chocolate.
NPR

Pennsylvania Congresswoman Goes All In For Obamacare

Does Rep. Allyson Schwartz's pro-Affordable Care Act television ad signal a new thinking among Democrats running in statewide races?
NPR

New Browser Plug-in Would Literally Annihilate This Headline

Mike Lazer-Walker created a free browser plug-in called Literally, which replaces the word "literally" with "figuratively" in all online text. As the website explains, that's literally all it does.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.