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Trojan Might be Responsible for 2008 Madrid Plane Crash

The investigation of the 2008 Spanair Flight JK 5022 crash reveals that the tragedy could have been stopped if an important system would have not been infected with a Trojan.

Within few minutes of takeoff from Madrid-Barajas International Airport in 2008, Flight 5022 crashed down on the earth. 154 people were killed and only 18 survived.

El Pais, the Spanish newspaper, claimed that a computer system assigned with observing technical problems and issuing alerts, which can lead to planes being grounded, was not working because of a malware infection.

While not directly related with the crash, the malware affected the mainframe that examines technical problems on the plane. It appears that the MD-82 plane that crashed faced two problems the day before tragedy, but technicians were not able to record them on the infected system.

An alarm has to ring if three same kind of technical problems are found on a single plane, but it did not ring because of Trojans' attack on mainframe.

Jamz Yaneeza, Head Threat Researcher at Trend Micro, stated that the infection could have entered the airline's system in many ways, as per the reports by msnbc on August 20, 2010.

Yaneeza stated that few probable methods of entering the system were through third party devices like USB sticks, which were behind the infection of the International Space Station virus in 2008, or through a remote VPN connection that might not have the same amount of security as a system in the company's network. Just one harmful file can infect the whole computer system.

President of Cyber Defense Agency, O. Sami Savdjari, said that any system linked to a network was susceptible to a malware infection, as per the reports by msnbc.com on August 20, 2010. Further, he said that standards had not been set to protect important infrastructure.

Savdjari claimed that this may happen again and most probably will.

A judge has asked Spanair to give all of the computer's logs for the days before and after the crash.

Related article: Trojans to Target VoIP in 2006

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