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'Virus Crashes Plane' And Poor Safety Protocols

Now that people are done making noise about how a "virus crashes a plane," the subject can be discussed reasonably.

Gadi Evron

September 10, 2010

1 Min Read

Now that people are done making noise about how a "virus crashes a plane," the subject can be discussed reasonably.The original story I saw on MSNBC stated: "Authorities investigating the 2008 crash of Spanair flight 5022 have discovered a central computer system used to monitor technical problems in the aircraft was infected with malware." And the secondary headline then states: "Computer monitoring system was infected with Trojan horse, authorities say."

The system in question was on the ground, and could have prevented the plane from taking off if it worked correctly. If we removed all the hops from preventing to crash, it can be said that the virus crashes the plane, theoretically. But it effectively caused a system to prevent it from flying.

It crashed for other reasons.

So what's the fault here? Not taking the monitoring systems seriously enough to secure them, not taking the monitoring systems seriously enough to prevent the malware from getting on them, and not taking the monitoring systems seriously enough to create backups and a trust environment that doesn't fall with a single-point of failure.

Security is serious and should be a consideration. But it is not a virus that crashed the plane, as much as that headline is cool and I would have used it, too, if while being more clear.

I can't wait for every presentation on security in the coming year to name the "virus crashed plane" as a fact, rather than a series of failures.

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron.

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading.

About the Author(s)

Gadi Evron

CEO & Founder, Cymmetria, head of Israeli CERT, Chairman, Cyber Threat Intelligence Alliance

Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for his work in Internet security and global incident response, and considered the first botnet expert. Gadi was CISO for the Israeli government Internet operation, founder of the Israeli Government CERT and a research fellow at Tel Aviv University, working on cyber warfare projects. Gadi authored two books on information security, organizes global professional working groups, chairs worldwide conferences, and is a frequent lecturer.

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