The damage control computer of Spanair aircraft had a virus
The central computer of Spanair, which recorded failures of aircraft was contaminated with malicious software when, two years ago today, Flight JK 5022 crashed. The computer, located at the headquarters of the airline in Palma de Mallorca, emits an alarm signal on its monitor when it registers three similar technical problems in the same device (plane). The plane that crashed at Barajas two years ago today -killing 154 of its 172 occupants- had already accumulated three incidents, which were not registered in time on the computer.
The summary (legal documentation), with two defendants, now occupies 46 volumes and nearly 12,000 pages
An internal document of the company, dated the day of the accident, indicates that the monitor was contaminated, "with trojans." These malicious programs can cause damage and facilitate attacks by hackers. Indeed, the association of victims of the crash has intervened in the case, and asked the investigating judge, Juan David Perez, to ask Spanair for all the pertaining entries in that computer on the days before and after the incident. The judge has just given an order in which it ordered the airline to provide this data.
Besides the stated virus on the computer, it has been added that Spanair took about 24 hours to input data about failures of its planes in the computer, according to declarations made by two mechanics from the airline in front of a judge. This is not a trivial matter, specially since flight JK 5022 would not have taken off from Barajas Airport in Madrid had its data been on the computer that day. It would have triggered the alarm, two incidents (deficiencies) had been spotted the day before the accident, August 19 and a third on the 20th, the latter defect was what motivated the flight to return from the runway, when the commander determined that a tube had overheated without justification. The mechanics are required to notify Spanair in Palma de Mallorca each defect immediately after detecting it. In this case, when employees tried to input the information on the computer to write these three incidents, they noticed that the monitor was useless due to the invasion of Trojans. By then, the plane had crashed.
The summary of this accident occupies about 12,000 pages. At the moment there are two defendants who are Spanair technicians. The judge is still waiting for the experts he appointed to report on the causes of the accident. A first analysis of the Commission of Inquiry into Accidents and Incidents of Civil Aviation (CIAIAC) revealed that the cause of the catastrophe was that the pilots forgot to turn on takeoff flaps and slaps, which are some small spoilers on the wings that help the vessel to rise. The aircraft has an alarm that warns the driver if you forget to turn on those fins. That day, the alarm did not sound (go off). The judge investigates whether there is a relationship between the failure of the alarm and the defects detected on the plane before the accident.
Did I just say that?