Malware Downs Spanair Flight 5022

The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) announced in it’s findings of the crash of Spanair flight 5022 that a computer virus is the root cause. The MD-82 crashed shortly after take off from Madrid Spain. Initial investigations blamed pilot error when the flaps and slats needed for take off were found in the retracted position. A maintenance computer should have alerted the ground crew to a problem with the flap system but was prevented from sounding an alarm by the computer virus.

The infected computer, located at the airlines office in Palma de Mallorca, is supposed to emit an alarm signal when three similar technical problems are found in the same device. Though three problems were detected – two Aug. 19, the day before the crash, and a third Aug. 20 – the incidents were not registered in the computer due to the Trojan.

Ground crews attempted to recall the aircraft, but the aircraft was not returned to the gate. Officials will not release the name of the Trojan nor the specific effects it had on the aircraft.

The crash occurred on 20 August, 2008 killing 154 people. There are 18 survivors.

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