Print 83 comment(s) - last by AntDX316.. on Aug 28 at 1:58 AM

Report links flash drive to Flight 5022

A corrupted USB stick contributed to Spain's worst air disaster on record, according to a 12,000-page report cited by the Spanish newspaper El Pais and USA Today.

It was initially believed that the crash of Flight 5022 that killed 154 people in 2008 was the result of pilot error, but investigators have now concluded that a computer infection spread through an infected USB stick may have contributed to the crash. 

Investigators speculate that trojan malware may have slowed down system alerts at the airline's headquarters which could have canceled or delayed the doomed flight. The report indicates that the computer failed to detect three problems (including one issue with the airplane's wing flaps being in the incorrect position for takeoff) in a fail-safe monitoring system and that those problems were brought on by a malicious program that came from the USB thumb drive. 

Spanair has been ordered by a judge to provide all of the company's computer logs from the days before and after the crash.  A final report from crash investigators is expected by December.

One expert warns that with continued use of flash drives and other third party devices in systems like these, this type of tragedy could happen again.

Senior manager of security research at Arbor Networks, Jose Nazario, said that many USB thumb drive attacks take advantage of security weaknesses in Windows auto run, a basic component built into the Windows operating system.

"Think about how many USB sticks you have. You're probably under counting. Everyone does," said Nazario.  "Now think about how many sticks in the past month your laptop has used, and think about how many other systems you have used your USB sticks on. This is like those classic HIV commercials, where you're with everyone that person has been with before."


Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Azure Sky on 8/23/2010 4:35:33 PM , Rating: -1
wonder if their IT guys know about Anti-Virus Protection....

One direct from MS and its FREE, about noobs....

also if the computers so slow that a single virus causes a huge slowdown, I think its time to upgrade...

RE: umm
By Wiggy Mcshades on 8/23/2010 4:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
new malware and trojans take time to get picked up by the companies that make anti-virus software and then even longer before they send out an updated scan definition for their software. They could of had every anti-virus software on earth going on that computer, but if the software from the usb stick was something new it wouldn't of mattered. Also you could be running the best hardware around and a well written virus can bring it to a complete halt.

RE: umm
By wiz220 on 8/23/2010 5:08:13 PM , Rating: 4
also if the computers so slow that a single virus causes a huge slowdown, I think its time to upgrade

Funny you should mention that. IMO, many AV programs slow down PC's more than most malicious software :p

RE: umm
By rcc on 8/23/2010 6:03:17 PM , Rating: 2
No surprise. Same programmers, same crap code. : )

RE: umm
By omnicronx on 8/23/2010 6:16:37 PM , Rating: 5
MSE is actually quite efficient and has the lower memory footprint than any AV software I've seen in a while (lower than Norton, McAfee, AVG, Trend Micro, you name it). Its pretty much transparent to the user. Heck I don't think i've ever even seen it use more than 10MB of memory and it normally idles at around 2MB.

Really have to hand it to MS on this one ;)

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki