[IP] Malware kills 154

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Tue Aug 24 12:32:19 EDT 2010

On Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 03:35:45PM -0400, Steven Bellovin wrote:
> And the articles I've seen do not say that the problem caused the
> crash.  Rather, they say that a particular, important computer was
> infected with malware; I saw no language (including in the Google
> translation of the original article at
> http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/ordenador/Spanair/anotaba/fallos/aviones/tenia/virus/elpepiesp/20100820elpepinac_11/Tes,
> though the translation has some crucial infelicities) that said
> "because of the malware, bad things happened.  It may be like the
> reactor computer with a virus during a large blackout -- yes, the
> computer was infected, but that wasn't what caused the problem.

The problem was evidently a couple of maintenance technicians who didn't
do their jobs correctly.  The computer comes into the matter because one
of its jobs was to activate an alarm if a critical system whose failure
*was* the proximate cause of the crash was not working properly.  It
didn't activate the alarm, which would have led to the aircraft being
prohibited from taking off, because of the malware.

That, at least, is what I've been able to figure out from the scant
reporting on the situation I've found through Google.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
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