Los Angeles: A stubborn computer virus has reportedly hit the US Nevada control station that remotely pilot US military drone aircraft on missions in Afghanistan and other war zones, Xinhua reported.
The virus has infected the cockpits of American Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke.
According to Wired magazine, the virus, first detected about two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. However, the virus has proven very difficult to eradicate.
“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” Wired quoted a source as saying. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”
The virus has infected both classified and unclassified machines at the base, but it was reported that no classified information has been lost or transmitted outside, the report said Friday.
The US uses the unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance and carry out strikes on enemy targets. They are used particularly in remote and mountainous areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. The affected US drones used to kill Anwar al-Awlaki and other Al Qaeda chiefs.
In 2009, US forces discovered drone footage on the laptops of Iraqi insurgents, Wired said. The incident has again sounded an alarm on US military network security.