by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Malware implicated in fatal Spanair plane crash

Just goes to prove why you should be careful about virus, malware and spyware infections in your PC.  It is true the malware did not infect the flight systems onboard but was found on the computer which was used to log/track the maintenance of the aircraft.

Authorities suspect now that the malware Trojan prevented the maintenance computer from alerting  that there were 3 technical problems on board, which would have automatically disqualified the aircraft from flying.

Here is the dramatic video of that Spanair 5022 crash on 20 Aug 2008.

Incidentally 2008 was also the year of the news of computer virus infection in the International Space Station, again not on onboard systems, but on the personal laptops of the astronauts.

To read both reports, it would give one the idea that it is the Windows OS which is to blame -
  • but just 2 days back there was this report that the Linux Kernel was vulnerable.  
  • a week back was this report that Google’s famed Android OS smart phones can be hacked.
  • in May was the startling headline that a British Scientist had infected himself with PC virus, which in turn was termed as scaremongering by the IT security provider Sophos
To read the comments on many sites, knowledgeable people have raised doubts whether purpose built computer solutions like on board aircrafts, space stations or ships are vulnerable.  But I’ve a niggling suspicion that every OS is going to be vulnerable and hackers will find that vulnerability – giving a spaceship a virus like in the ‘Independence Day’ doesn’t sound so alien anymore, unless you are one of the Mac lovers.

To my horror, I found that people (school / college kids) are still on the webworld without a decent firewall or antivirus, one which has not been updated (naturally) for months together.  I just shake my head and point them to my blog post on security tools and hope they follow it.

BTW that blog post has been updated as 10 +2 security tools for Windows today.

My Saturday Routine is to update all anti-malware, anti-spyware and scan the PC (my Anti-virus ‘Avast’ is on auto update mode), which normally finds nothing worse than ad cookies.

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