Die Hard 4 was for many merely a fantasy movie. However, in light of recent malware attacks on US unpiloted military aircraft, EUGENE KASPERSKY, CEO of Kaspersky Labs, believes the movie is more of a reality than we think.
Indeed, it appears that for once the film industry can’t keep up with the latest reports from the computing world. And making an action film these days about cyber warfare is a tricky and delicate business: between a pre-release trailer and the release of a movie the script can be played out not in the cinemas, but on the evening news.
That’s all the information we have at the moment. Anything else would be mere guesswork and speculation but sadly it’s not the first time drones have appeared in the headlines of late due to security issues, which makes we worry about what the future holds.
Drones, airplanes, cars, power stations, electricity grids, reservoirs, hospitals, hotels for example are vital elements of infrastructure on which all our lives depend, and they are all controlled by computers and networks. We rely on them completely. However, we can only guess at how they work and how well they are protected, or, rather, unprotected. And what can occur as a result of deficient protection is anyone’s guess. Just watch Live Free or Die Hard – half of it is of course pure fantasy, the other half is now a reality – hard boiled and nasty.
The incident with the drones is by far not the first nor the last time that malware will penetrate essential equipment on which lives depend. But what’s to be done faced with this worrying threat is not clear at present. What is clear is that it’s impossible to solve this problem quickly: to do so would mean either becoming fully protected – which is impossible, or to simply stop using such systems – also impossible: the former – because any computer system is potentially vulnerable: the latter – because we’d all be jettisoned back to the first half of the last century, or even further back in time. Incidentally, while the operating system the drones work on is not known, their control centres (the ones that were infected) was in fact Windows!
To disinfect the drones, GCS technicians had to completely erase the GCS’ internal hard drives, which indicate that it was not a common virus. Maybe the assistance of a respected anti-malware expert could have avoided this drastic measure ‚ but what is certain, is that this is the first of many to come.
Eugene Kaspersky’s blog can be found at http://eugene.kaspersky.com/
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