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Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in Drones, Intelligence, Linux, Technology | 0 comments

Why US killer spy drone switched to Linux ?

The MQ-9 Reaper (image source-wikipedia)
After the malware infection on the US control bases of the killer drones, it seems US military have switched the controls from windows machines to linux based machines.
Ground control systems at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, which commands the Reaper drones became infected with virus last september. The Air Force in a statement dismissed the malware as just a nuisance and did not pose any threat to the operation of the Reaper drones.
It said,
 “The ground system is separate from the flight control system Air Force pilots use to fly the aircraft remotely; the ability of the pilots to safely fly these aircraft remained secure throughout the incident,” 

The credential stealing malware was first posted on Wired. Defense news  said,Portable disks that are used to load map updates and transfer mission videos from one computer to another were responsible for malware getting into the control systems.
US Airforce said in  statement that,
“The malware was detected on a standalone mission support network using a Windows-based operating system,”

“The malware in question is a credential stealer, not a keylogger, found routinely on computer networks and is considered more of a nuisance than an operational threat. It is not designed to transmit data or video, nor is it designed to corrupt data, files or programs on the infected computer. Our tools and processes detect this type of malware as soon as it appears on the system, preventing further reach.”

Drone units were advised to stop using the removable drives to prevent another outbreak, but there seems some other major changes were also made like switching the control systems from Windows to Linux. The screenshots posted by the security researcher Mikko Hyponnen suggest that at least some of the consoles have been migrated from Microsoft Windows to open source Linux.
Two photos taken in 2009 and in 2011 show the difference in the Operating systems. You can check those images below.
Hyponnen told the Reg,
“If I would need to select between Windows XP and a Linux based system while building a military system, I wouldn’t doubt a second which one I would take.” 

Source :  The Reg
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Indiandragon though Developer, Hacker and Researcher by profession, he aslo writes on Movies, Sports and Entertainment in News@Indiandragon. He specialises in Technology, Defence and Information Security.