Feb 07 2009

France’s navy surrenders to Downadup worm

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I’ve slapped the U.S. Air Force around over the years for their obsessive-compulsive behavior to attack their own computing capability “as a precaution” whenever they fear a virus might attack their computing capability.

Well, now it appears France’s navy has joined the OCD club. A headline in Britain’s Daily Telegraph proclaims “French fighter planes grounded by computer virus.” A subheading notes the fabulous French flying machines “were unable to take off after military computers were infected by a computer virus, an intelligence magazine claims.”

French navy spokesman Jérome Erulin said “it was a security problem we had already simulated.” It pleases me to know the French military keeps up with their surrender skills…

Unable to take off? Thank goodness. I’d hate to hear about hundreds of Frenchmen bobbing in the ocean after bailing out to protect themselves from the Downadup worm. “Mayday! Mayday! Frenchy-Paris-Two-Five-Niner, I’ve got a Krusty the Clown screen icon on my heads-up display! Ejecting immediately! Frenchy-Paris-Two-Five-Niner eject eject eject!”

Reading the first paragraph of the story, we begin to realize the navy’s flight tasking “databases were infected by a Microsoft virus they had already been warned about several months beforehand.” In other words, we can assume the aircraft themselves remained worm-free — only the flight planners’ servers & desktops got whacked.

I spent 26 years in an Air Force uniform and I can assure you of two things. First: all militaries give high priority to bombing an enemy’s flight planning headquarters. Second: all militaries train their airmen to operate after the flight planning headquarters gets attacked. Military training usually goes like this:

“Pilots, our exercise scenario today begins with the enemy taking out our flight planners. {Pilots applaud & give high-fives.} Okay, that’s enough. They’re a critical part of our team, you know. {Pilots cough in a mocking fashion.} The wing commander will need to act decisively to maintain air superiority during the exercise…”

The news story mentions the French navy’s OCD in its second paragraph. “At one point French naval staff were also instructed not to even open their computers.” Can you imagine the email they must have received?

Fm: French High Military Command
To: All naval personnel
Subj: Turn off all computers
Charge d’Affairs orders all personnel to immediately shut off all naval computers. We will send an email telling you when you may turn your computers back on…

Later in the story, “Jérome Erulin, [a] French navy spokesman, [said] ‘It was a security problem we had already simulated.’ ” Aha, great news. It pleases me to know the French military keeps up with their surrender skills.

Anyway, it’s a cute story except for the fact that France lost all of its naval aviation. So, uh … who were the French locked in mortal combat with?

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  • By xfmrhsdNo Gravatar, 8 February 2009 @ 1:40 am

    Couldn’t read this story, my computer was off to keep the bugs out.

  • By AngelaE8654No Gravatar, 1 March 2009 @ 3:55 am

    LOL, and I got a “Virus Warning” while reading it. Really. :-D

    Angela

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