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Computer virus hits U.S. drone fleet

(WIRED) -- A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America's Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots' every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly 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. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech's computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military's most important weapons system.

"We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back," says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. "We think it's benign. But we just don't know." More...

10-10-2011 15:47

White House Orders New Computer Security Rules

WASHINGTON — The White House plans to issue an executive order on Friday to replace a flawed patchwork of computer security safeguards exposed by the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks last year. Multimedia

The order by President Obama culminates a seven-month governmentwide review of policies and procedures involving the handling of classified information, and recommendations on how to reduce the risk of breaches.

The directive enshrines many stopgap fixes that the Pentagon, the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency made immediately after the initial WikiLeaks disclosures last November. Since then, for instance, the military has disabled 87 percent of its computers to prevent people from downloading classified data onto memory sticks, CDs or DVDs.

The Pentagon has also developed procedures to monitor and detect suspicious behavior on classified computer systems. And the State Department stopped distributing its diplomatic cables over a classified e-mail system used by many in the military, including Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who is accused of leaking the classified documents to WikiLeaks. More...

10-07-2011 18:19

Global cybercrimes cost $114 billion annually: Symantec

(Reuters) - A study by Symantec Corp, the maker of Norton computer security software, estimates the cost of global cybercrimes at $114 billion annually.

The Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 said 431 million adults were victims globally in the past year, with costs of cybercrime surpassing the combined global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

"Over the past 12 months, three times as many adults surveyed have suffered from online crime versus offline crime, yet less than a third of respondents think they are more likely to become a victim of cybercrime than physical world crime in the next year," said Adam Palmer, Norton Lead Cybersecurity Advisor.

The study also identified men in the 18-31 years age group, who access the Internet from their mobile phone, as likely victims. Source...

09-07-2011 16:04