Malware partly blamed for Fatal 2008 Spanair Crash

Malware has been implicated as a contributing factor in a Spanair plane crash that killed 154 people two years ago Friday. The crash of Spanair flight JK 5022 occurred just after takeoff, two years ago, on August 20, 2008.

The crash was Spain's deadliest in 25 years. Only 18 of the 172 passengers and crew survived. The plane, a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 aircraft, was taking on from Madrid's Barajas Airport on a scheduled flight to Las Palmas.

While not directly involved in the crash, the malware affected the mainframe that monitors technical problems on the plane, according to the Spanish language paper El Pais. An alarm is supposed to sound if three similar technical problems are registered on a single plane, but it did not go off, as a result of the Trojans infecting the mainframe.

While it was determined that pilot error was reponsible for the crash, as both the slats and flaps were not set properly, the onboard alarm system did not alert the pilots as it should.

Obviously, if the mainframe had not been infected, and its alarm had sounded, lives might have been saved. You can watch video of the actual crash below:

Via:  El Pais
Tags:  Malware, virus, trojan
3vi1 4 years ago

It was not a mainframe. The use of the word "mainframe" has since been attributed to bad translation.  Planes don't need to talk to a mainframe to determine if they should throw an alarm over flap positions, nor were any other planes affected by this.

The real problem, as usual, was Windows.  A Windows PC used by the mechanics was running too slow, due to malware, which caused them to not enter incidents into the maintenance logs. The flight would have been grounded due to three incidents in the logs, as there were two the previous day... but the one on the day of the crash wasn't entered yet because of the malware.

The failure of the alarm about the flaps was unrelated and is not directly attributable to malware. But, that won't stop everyone from saying a virus crashed this plane, apparently.

amdcrankitup 4 years ago

Dang what were they running on the PC Windows Mellenium!!Confused

fat78 4 years ago

Were the flaps and slats not leveled togather? Because the path the plane took on wiki, shows it going off the sides of the runway

animatortom 4 years ago

Just like the movie Virus :P

antiviruskey 4 years ago

If this is real true, then the military should use this kind of tactics to bring down jet fighters and drones.

fat78 4 years ago

Flaps arnt controlled by the computers, they are just monitored by it. pilot didnt get the warning that the flaps were set incorrectly

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