One of the most deadly elements of the U.S. military, the Predator and Reaper drones, may have been targeted by a virus for more than two weeks, during which alleged al-Qaida terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in Yemen.
The U.S. Air Force declined comment on the reports, circulated by Wired.
We keep wiping it off and it keeps coming back, an Air Force official said to the publication.
While the Pentagon would unlikely confirm its has been subjected to yet another cyber-attack, the virus could endanger one of the most deadly and popular military tools, which have proved especially effective in Afghanistan, as well as other venues, like Yemen, where the U.S. military lacks a major presence.
Only last week, the Obama Administration announced it would upgrade all kinds of computer safety in the aftermath of last year's WikiLeaks downloads, allegedly conducted by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who may have had accomplices.
As technology changes, we hope to be ahead of the curve, said Patrick Kennedy, under secretary for management at the State Department.
Under the new directive, cybercredentials were checked and new authorizations issued to appropriate personnel. The government also said it would track large data downloads.
At the same time, the Pentagon and other agencies have been persistent targets of hackers as well as alleged attempts by foreign governments, reportedly China, to tap into computers.
The government has never formally acknowledged these efforts, though, as well as reports that it may have been behind the apparent insertion of the so-called Stuxnet virus into Iran's nuclear reactors, perhaps with the participation of Israel intelligence.