Thursday, February 12, 2009

French fighter planes grounded by virus

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who was felled by a virus recently...

News out of France is that much of the French Navy's air fleet was recently grounded because of a computer virus. The infection though wasn't caused by terrorists or hostile nations, but rather the laziness French naval officers.

It seems that three months ago the French Navy was told to update the security patches on the Windows-based OS that runs their military computers to guard against a new strain of computer virus. But they didn't for reasons that seem to boil down to that they just never got around to it.

So last week when the “Conficker” virus hit computers around the world, the French Navy's intranet was infected as well - the virus coming in through an unsecured part of the network that had never been patched. It quickly swept through the system. The French Navy's advanced Rafale fighters were said to be "nailed to the ground" from the virus, because pilots were unable to upload flight plans onto the Rafale's computers (and at this point I have to ask hasn't anyone in the French Navy been watching Battlestar Galactica?)

All of this chaos finally prompted the French Navy IT department to install the needed patches and supposedly the fleet is once again up and running. It is another tale though of how disturbingly vulnerable the modern military is to cyberattack.
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