Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:October 9th, 2011 18:41 EST
Is the Day of The Terminator Finally Upon Us? Reaper and Predator Drones Infected With Software Virus

Is the Day of The Terminator Finally Upon Us? Reaper and Predator Drones Infected With Software Virus

By Ron G Anselm

U.S. Military officials were left scratching their heads wondering how a cyber-attack that planted a computer virus within the software that controls the Predator and Reaper Assault Drones. The drones have been one of the military`s main assets in the war on terror in both Afghanistan and Iraq.   

These drones are not only used in the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq but are also used in other hot spots like Libya where we are supporting the Libyan rebels, and they are also used in Pakistan where we are using them to hunt down suspects on the US hit list of wanted Taliban leaders and in Yemen where we are also hunting terror suspects.

There are about 150 Predator drones and 50 Reaper drones being used just in Afghanistan and Iraq alone. These drones have been a great asset to us in Iraq and Afghanistan because they can basically go anywhere at any time and have proven to be a lethal force when going up against the insurgents and the Taliban. They can pack a punch and take out anyone anywhere.

The Air Forces Central command and the manufacturer of the drones, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems are not commenting on this incident. They were trying to keep this a secret from the mainstream media but an insider leak managed to spring and this information got out to many sources.

The first incidents of the computer virus infecting the military software became known on October 8th from an article printed in Wired Magazine. The virus is reported to be able to capture keystrokes on a keyboard in the drones cockpits for the ones stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. These drones are remotely flown by pilots, so having whoever hacked into this software be able to track keystrokes could prove to be a nightmare.

What`s probably happening is hover the hacker(s) are is trying to figure out a way to be able to overwrite the control of one of these drones and be able to fly it themselves. If this is the case it would be the same concept as how the terrorist took of the commercial airliners in the attacks of 9/11 and flew them wherever they wanted, in that instance the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon.

As one source told Wired Magazine, "We keep wiping it off and it keeps coming back referring to the virus keeps getting deleted by the military IT Specialists and then it just suddenly reappears again out of nowhere."

The thing I worry about is if someone has figured out how to hack into the most secured of the secured networks, the military networks then they can just about hack into any network. And if they are figuring out to control drones then what is stopping them from being able to control our arsenals that house our nuclear warheads and weapons? Also, is they can hack into the military computer system they could steal Top Secret information. Being ex-military myself, I won`t go into what other nightmares could possible happen by having the wrong sources hacking into the military computer systems.

On the other side of the coin, the military and other officials are looking into the possibility that this may not have been a planned cyber-attack that the virus may have accidently made its way into the software on accident. Maybe, someone down the chain of command opened an E-Mail they should have deleted? Who Knows, just get rid of this virus once and for all and use the information from this incident to upgrade the systems and ward of any further future attacks.

Don`t look for any officials from the military of the civilian contractor who builds these drones because if any details are discussed those details could be used against us by the hackers (if this is due to hacker) which the hacker could see which of their tactics have succeeded and which ones have failed and make the necessary adjustments to change their virus code to make it more effective.

To me, it is no wonder a virus was able to make its way onto the computer software that operate these drones because the drones are operated by ordinary PC`s, so having a virus come in is as simple as opening and E-Mail.

There are many ways and scenarios on how someone or whoever was able to obtain the video signal that control these drones because two years ago there was information that some of our troops obtained a laptop computer that belonged to some Iraq insurgents that had a video and video footage of these drones saved on it. So, if you put two and two together, the Iraqis might have been able to use a Russian or Chinese program to be able to intercepts the signal that control the drones and that program would have only cost really nothing to buy.

The question now becomes how can we upgrade and improve our top secret networks and software used by the military that control the drones and other weapons that if not secured could become another nightmare for our country.

An even bigger question is has the movie world of The Terminator finally intersected with the reality that we live in? We now have machines that take the place of soldiers. At what point will machines take the place of humans all together? Only time will tell.


See More: