Drones suffer Mafia games virus, common malware

By Peter Chubb - Oct 14, 2011

A common malware issue may have caused the recent issue with US Air Force drones, a little like a Mafia Wars games virus. In one respect you have to worry how could these assets come under such attack, but in another it is a relief that the malware wasn’t designed with just the intended target in mind. How embarrassing would it be if this were the case?

There is still cause for concern though, as the virus managed to infiltrate ground control systems, which are used to supple backup power, workstations and also environmental controls. However, NPR said that that’s not the worst of it; the common malware also studied user keystrokes to try and gather password details.

You may wonder what the virus has to do with the game mentioned above, well it seems as though it could originate from those who play the games like Mafia Wars. One would assume that these kinds of things could never happen, but when computer systems are involved anything can happen – no matter how tight you think that your firewall is.

The common malware in question is called Key Logger, and does what it says, logs a user’s keystrokes. If this kind of information were obtained by outside sources, then the consequences would be unimaginable, as they could even take control of a drone; just remember that many of these are armed and could cause a huge amount of devastation.

We expect that Air Force officials are now drilling those who were in control of these drones, and to ask why they had been playing games like Mafia Wars on the same system.

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  • Msmojodragon

    because they were playing mafia wars stupid that why he said mafia wars….and to be exact it was mafia wars 2 the new release in recent weeks. Zynga has NO liable case it has been found & traced back to MW2…you may want to educate yourself on the subject before you run off at the mouth on a subject you seem to know nothing about. there are 100’s are news articles related to this article that provide more infomation. So stop being SUE happy & get a life…I bet you are just sitting around waiting for something to happen so you can sue someone & cash in..

    • First of all you idiot, he didn’t state that in the article. Get yourself educated before you mouth off. Secondly, you need to really THINK first before responding. Clearly, you have shown that you lack the capacity to do so. Third of all, no one said anything about suing….so get off your high horse and shut up.

    • Hexalot

      Wow dude.. you’re just plain retarded. Did you run off trying to sound smart? I’ll bet you wear a hefty size foil-hat as well..

  • I am a bit confused, why did the author single out “Mafia Wars” when there are a multitude of online web based games that could do the same thing? He could have just said “online games hacks” and been done with it. The makers of “Mafia Wars” may consider this a “liable” issue.

    • Da_gard

      First you have 20 something kids (officers) flying the drones for a period of 8 to 10hrs a day pending on mission.  Mafia Wars were singled out becasue that was the game found that the 20 year olds were playing on line.  What it comes down to is the pilots (officers) that had down time when the drones are being prep, re-fueled or re-arm could be an hr to several hrs and as a just incase they are required to stay in the seat until there shift is over becaue the drones are still collecting data and video even when not flying.  This is for safety and security reasons.  But like everyone else at work they can’t just go and surf the web, but they can install a game or two and what do you know a game can be played in the seat.  Each seat is set in a cubicle like area.  there are only 2 or 3 assigned to each seat so when you come into work the next day you enver go to another seat, it’s like that drone is designated for those people and only those for accountability.  Mafia War creators unliable and cannot sue the government, however, if its found that Mafia Wars creator was the cause of the virus within the game the government can sue them.  Also the pilots are more tahn likely grounded and descipline for not keeping up with AF COMSEC OPSEC procedures if found liable.