In a story from Wired's online magazine, a persistant keylogging virus has lodged itself in the Air Force's drone command and control computers at Creech Air Force base in Nevada.  Efforts to clean the computers have failed as the virus pops back up.  The source for Wired's Danger Room has said they thought the virus was benign, but that they didn't really know.

Drone pilot's control room

Having a keylogger on a computer that controls a deadly armed predator drone seems more than benign.  Also the fact that you can't get rid of it, AND you're still flying armed drones off that system just screams for a little common sense.  The article stated that the virus hasn't interfered with pilots flying their missions overseas.  Let's just hope the source didn't really mean it.  If I knew I had a keylogger on my machines, (which I probably do but don't know it) I wouldn't so much as update this blog till it was cleaned up.  And this blog doesn't have  national security implications.  What are they thinking?

We all know already that drone security is a bit lax.  The video downloaded and used by American troops in the field has never been encrypted, and has been found on Taliban laptops.  Possibly it isn't the military's fault, though, as computer network systems and even the internet itself were designed to just work, and security implications came along later, leaving our systems perpetually vulnerable to exploitation.  I can visualize some brilliant shadowy hacker silently nodding in agreement.

10/25/11 Update: The Air Force released a statement to the fact that no drone control computers were affected by the malware and that only ground support computers were infected.  They also state the malware was not a keylogger, but a credential stealing program used against common gaming sites.  So not to worry....