Keylogger virus infects American drones, hasn’t hindered attacks
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
Today Wired’s Danger Room published a somewhat disturbing article revealing a virus present in the computer cockpits of American Predator and Reaper drones that has been present for no less than two weeks.
Much like the agent.btz virus which was blamed on Russia and China, this virus was likely introduced through a disc or removable USB drive since the remote cockpits are not supposed to be connected to the public internet.
Removable drives have been banned throughout most military facilities but Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was an exception because operators would update maps and transfer videos with them.
Creech Air Force Base is responsible for flying most of the drone missions abroad and while the virus logs every single keystroke made by pilots, no confirmed incidents of classified information leaks have occurred, yet.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, have become the backbone of the American war machine, especially when the U.S. wants to avoid political fallout by using actual manned aircraft.
This is especially true in Pakistan and Yemen, where no official war or conflict has been declared, yet American drones conduct bombings on a regular basis.
In fact, since Obama took power, a CIA-controlled drone fleet numbering some 30 drones has bombed Pakistan more than 230 times, according to the Long War Journal.
Since July of 2008, the number of strikes carried out by drones has been increasing significantly, in fact 268 strikes have been carried out since the program started in 2004, yet 258 of those 264 have been since January 2008.
Keep in mind that Pakistan is a sovereign nation who has repeatedly told the United States to immediately stop infringing on their sovereignty with the constant attacks and they have China backing them up.
Furthermore, it was recently revealed that new secret drone bases were being erected in Africa and elsewhere to continue and even ramp up the attacks on Somalia and Yemen.
Today Iranian news agency Press TV also reported that 29 Somali civilians were killed and more than 28 injured in an American drone strike near the Southern town of Qooqani.
These same drones are now being used to conduct extrajudicial executions of American citizens abroad, as in the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, called by Danger Room a “top terrorist” yet he was never charged or found guilty of such.
Unlike Wired’s Danger Room, I’m not so quick to call someone a “top terrorist” when the government seems unable or unwilling to even make a case to prove that this is true.
The fact that the decisions are made by a secret death panel with no regulation or accountability whatsoever makes this trend that much more disturbing.
Clearly the presence of the infection has not slowed down the so-called pilots from carrying out their deadly missions around the world in the name of America.
According to sources familiar with the virus infecting the network, repeated attempts to wipe the virus have been futile.
In a somewhat overly optimistic statement, one source told Danger Room, “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”
It is unclear if the virus was introduced to the system maliciously or by mistake and experts have no idea how far the virus has been able to spread in the two weeks since it has been detected.
While no confirmed leaks have occurred, the keylogger has the capability of recording highly classified and sensitive information which could then be transferred to unknown entities outside of the American military.
However, the drone systems themselves are notoriously vulnerable, evidenced by the summer of 2009 when it was discovered that drone footage had been captured by Iraqi insurgents using a $26 piece of software.
The Air Force has refused to comment on the virus and a spokesman for Air Combat Command, Lieutenant Colonel Tadd Sholtis, said, “We generally do not discuss specific vulnerabilities, threats, or responses to our computer networks, since that helps people looking to exploit or attack our systems to refine their approach […] 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.”
The real question is how is such a supposedly sophisticated military allowing these viruses to enter the systems? Who is putting them there and where are they sending information?
These are obviously tough questions and given the Air Force’s reluctance to even give a remotely specific comment on the virus, we can expect that these major issues will be skirted by the military establishment.