By Jim Emerson, staff writer
For the last two weeks Air Force computer specialists have been battling a computer infection of ground based computers that control drones operating over the Mideast. The administration specialists at Creech AFB, Nevada wanted to keep the incident quiet till they could eliminate the virus by themselves. Instead of asking for help the command was overwhelmed by a virus that couldn’t be easily removed. Because of the time wasted it may take a while before the extent of the infection is known and what systems have been compromised.
The virus affecting the ground stations was a “keylogger” virus. A keylogger is an almost unnoticeable spyware that monitors key strokes and control clicks and sent the information to an external host computer. This virus had been found on several unclassified and classified computers. As of this time investigating officials haven’t determined how the virus was introduced into the network. Because of the time wasted in trying to remove the infection the so-called smoking gun will be difficult to discover.
The keylogger virus on the Creech computers are most likely Kernel-based or rootkit based virus which are most sophisticated and the most difficult to remove. The virus was most likely delivered by a Trojan that is behaving as a benign file. To date it is not known if the virus has damaged any systems or transmitted recorded keystroked to an external host. Such an attack should of have been reported to the 24th Air Force, Cyber Command, but it wasn’t. The Air Force needs to know that one of its vital systems has been compromised.
How did Cyber Security know?
The Air Force’s cyber security specialists were surprised when they learned about the virus infection in the pages Wired.com. The Air Force’s cyber command had to admit that it didn’t have the capability to monitor all networks within the Air Force. When cyber-attacks on critical systems are allowed to fester for two weeks without the proper specialists hearing about them missions can be compromised but more importantly, weapon systems, and the safety of the war fighter are put in danger. What the hell were these people thinking?
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This day in history October 15
1894: The Dreyfus Affair begins with the arrest of Alfred Dreyfus for spying.
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