As most know, the United States’ use of unmanned drones has been a controversial article in the news in the past few years, but a recent development may reignite that controversy. Wired.com verified that, in 2011, a virus had begun infecting United States military drones, and has continually popped up in the years since.
The good news is that the virus does not affect the pilot’s ability to control the drone, so it isn’t capable of doing any direct harm or otherwise interfering with military exercises. Neither has any classified information been leaked by way of this virus and it’s presence in the Air Force’s hardware. The bad news, however, is that the virus appears to copy and record the pilot’s every key stroke; so whatever courses of action the soldier enables, the virus is writing it down.
Sources say that specialists have repeatedly rid the Air Force systems of the pesky virus, but it continues to show back up. Considering how it is a low level threat, the government is not taking it seriously. But there are two ways this could go; either a) it is merely malware that snuck it’s way into the system, or b) it’s a keylogger who has appeared, either on accident or purposefully. The potential of a “keylogger” could present issues of security and classified information leaking out to external sources.
The Spokesman for Air Combat Command, Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtide said recently that “We invest a lot in protecting and monitoring our systems to counter threats and ensure security, which includes a comprehensive response to viruses, worms, and other malware we discover.”
Drones are an essential element to the Air Force’s arsenal; they have been active since 2008, dispatching the countries’ enemies without risking the lives of American men and women. Within three years time, U.S. drones had some enemy soldiers and many civilians. Their numbers grow exponentially and their use has multiplied since their induction. What is left to be known is how dangerous this virus’ threat is to national security and how will it be handled by our government?