Conficker Worm Shuts Down French and UK Air Forces

The London Telegraph reports that the Conficker (aka Downadup and Kido) worm virtually shut down both the French naval air force and Great Britain's RAF and Royal Navy for some time last month.

Ironically, the French had been warned as far back as October to harden their systems, but as we reported last month, millions of PCs haven't yet been protected by installing KB958644. As with other infections, the culprit appears to have been an infected USB flash memory key, and the infection prevented the French Navy's Rafael multi-role combat aircraft from being flown for several days in mid-January. The non-secured Intramar French navy computer network was also infected - users of Intramar were even told not to use their PCs!

Across the English Channel, the British were having problems of their own with a variant of Conficker. The Fujitsu-supplied NavyStar (N*) email and computer support system was the target of the outbreak. More than 24 RAF bases and 75% of the Royal Navy fleet, including the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, were infected by Conficker.

Any idea why the IT managers forgot to protect their systems? What about the possibility that an attack like this could be the first wave of a major war? Hit Comment and tell us what you think (or fear).

French Naval Aviation and RAF roundels courtesy Wikimedia Commons. USB flash drives image courtesy BBC.
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