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Computer Virus Infected USAF Drones
The computer systems that were used to remotely pilot the U.S. Air Force's armed unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or drones, were infected by a computer virus in Sep 11. The USAF Air Force Space Command official revealed that the computer virus did not penetrate the flight controls systems of the UAV, but instead infiltrated the ground systems control for the combat drones that were flown remotely from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
It was assessed that it was not a targeted attack on USAF's UAV systems but it is more likely a case of malware inadvertently introduced by USAF serviceman into the computer system. The malware is designed to steal log-in passwords used for online gaming. Mafia Wars online was quoted as an example of the online games but it was not known whether the virus was specifically written for infiltrating Mafia Wars online games. A defense official said that the virus is targeted at people who gamble online or play game like Mafia Wars online.
The virus was detected on a portabl hard drive that was used to transfer data between computer systems at Creech AFB. It is possible that the virus was designed to steal Facebook users logins as gamers play the Mafia Wars online game through their Facebook accounts.
Online games like Mafia Wars and Mario Online have been growing in popularity. It is unlikely that the infected computer systems were used to access the internet. The virus was more likely introduced through gaming devices like portable Playstation (PSP) and smartphones. Many bored military personnel secretly bring in portable game consoles to pass the time during long duty hours. Or they may play online games on their iPhones and Androids smartphones. These gaming devices and smartphones can be recharged by plugging into the USB ports of computers. The users may think that they are merely recharging the device batteries but the computer virus can be inadvertently uploaded onto the computers via the USB connection. That is why computer security is important and the next watch area would be smartphones like iPhones and Android phones.