Technology with attitude

French Navy Fighters Grounded By Computer Virus

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miragefrenchHere is the simple way to ground a country’s air force…

The Telegraph is reporting that fighter planes in the French navy were unable to take off after their computers were infected by a computer virus.

The aircraft were unable to download their flight plans after databases were infected by a Microsoft virus they had already been warned about several months beforehand.

At one point French naval staff were also instructed not to even open their computers.

Microsoft had warned that the “Conficker” virus, transmitted through Windows, was attacking computer systems in October last year, but according to reports the French military ignored the warning and failed to install the necessary security measures.

You would think the French military would get a copy of Norton or McAfee or something. It is simply amazing that one of the world’s most advanced nations would blow it big time on something so basic. On top of it, the havoc was probably caused by a deceptively simple act.

Naval officials said the “infection”‘ was probably due more to negligence than a deliberate attempt to compromise French national security. It said it suspected someone at the navy had used an infected USB key.

Terrorists around the world must be taking note of things like this.

Of course, the French try to pass it off as no big deal.

“The computer virus problem had no effect on the availability of our forces.” The virus attacked the non-secured internal French navy network called Intramar and was detected on 21 January. The whole network was affected and military staff were instructed not to start their computers.

According to Liberation newspaper, two days later the chiefs of staff decided to isolate Intramar from the military’s other computer systems, but certain computers at the Villacoublay air base and in the 8th Transmissions Regiment were infected. Liberation reported that on the 15 and 16 January the Navy’s Rafale aircraft were “nailed to the ground” because they were unable to “download their flight plans”. The aircraft were eventually activated by “another system”.

Sure, no effect as long as the computers aren’t started or the pilots don’t want a flight plan.

Quite possibly the next great war will begin and end like this. Whichever side keeps its anti-virus software up-to-date and runs periodic scans wins. Now someone just needs to explain that to the Generals and Admirals.

(from Foolocracy.com)