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  (Source: travelbrook.com)
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."

 



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

By DougF on 8/24/2010 8:35:04 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
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.


Wrong again. I've read the report and it CLEARLY states that the aircrew had the aircraft in "flight" mode, where the weight on wheels (WOW) switch is overridden in the cockpit. Normally, this is used for ground maintenance troubleshooting, and is NOT an approved part of pre-flight switchology. With the WOW switch in "flight" mode, the temperature probe registered a fault, which was then turned off as it is redundant for flight. With the aircraft in "flight" mode, there would have been NO warning or error logged as part of the takeoff process, as the aircraft already thinks it's in flight. The "problem" is that the aircrew was monkeying around with switches and put themselves and the passengers in grave danger.

The aircrew successfully defeated THREE SAFTEY PROCEDURES: 1) They had the WOW in "flight" mode for takeoff; 2) The aircrew said, but did NOT check the indication for flaps/slats in the cockpit; and 3) The aircrew failed to conduct a MANDATORY visual inspection for the flaps/slats from the cockpit windows.
Those three safety violations killed the aircrew, the passengers, and destroyed the aircraft, NOT a virus on the airline's mainframe. The virus did affect the showing of multiple faults, but that had NOTHING to do with this accident. The enquiry is simply finding additional problems that need to be addressed, they are not saying the virus had anything to do with this crash.
C'mon read the report...




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