Trojan horse suspected for contributing to 2008 Madrid aircrash

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Offline ky331

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"Authorities investigating the 2008 Madrid air crash, which resulted in the deaths of 154 people, have discovered that a central computer system used to monitor technical problems in aircraft was infected with Trojan horses".

http://www.sophos.com/blogs/gc/g/2010/08/20/trojan-horse-suspected-contributing-2008-madrid-aircrash/

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Offline Hoov

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Re: Trojan horse suspected for contributing to 2008 Madrid aircrash
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2010, 03:34:05 PM »
I don't want to make light of the situation, because even to the level this happened it is inexcusable.

But I would like to point out one thing that was in the article.

have discovered that a central computer system used to monitor technical problems in aircraft was infected with Trojan horses.

This computer has absolutely nothing to do with the operation of the airplane, only the monitoring of it. It could turn into a pile of molten metal and plastic, and the airplane will not care one bit.

The software that lives in the boxes that have to do with actually flying the airplane IS NOT Windows based. It is a highly custom written piece if software that is written for specific hardware, and only that hardware. This is so specific that if you put in a piece of hardware that does not match, the software will fail, and you will get all kinds of indications. This software will not run other software like windows does. It is not an operating system. A virus or Trojan will not run on this software, because that is not what it is designed to do. And even if a Trojan or Virus somehow managed to get into this software, there would be nothing for it to do, or anyplace for it to go.

I know this is a story that keeps popping up over and over again in regards to air crashes, but it simply cannot happen.

This is something I know about. I worked on US Navy Aircraft for 4 years, and then on Wide body Civilian airplanes for another 7. I am an avionics technician. If it had electricity going to it, from it, or around in it, I worked on it. I worked on dumb airplanes like a DC8-50 to advanced airplanes with glass cockpits (all digital).

When telling people about stories like this, you should always include the qualification that you will find in the story. For instance in this particular article there is a single line half way down.

It's important to note - malware didn't cause the plane to crash.

And then the author continues to speculate on how the malware could cause the crash. It is clear to me, this author is not a computer expert or an expert on Aircraft control systems. In my opinion the person that wrote the article is merely a journalist trying to sensationalize his article to cause a public outcry. He is acting very irresponsibly.

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