Report: Trojan may have aided Madrid air crash

Authorities investigating a deadly 2008 Madrid air crash have discovered that a central (ground-based) computer system used to monitor technical problems on the aircraft was infected with Trojan horses.

The tragic crash – which killed 154 people – occurred just after take off from Madrid-Barajas international airport.

According to El Pais, a computer on the ground in Mallorca should have identified at least three technical problems, which could have (theoretically) prevented the plane from departing. 

However, the system was apparently suffering from a severe malware infection and didn’t function properly.

“[Of course], it’s important to note – malware didn’t cause the plane to crash. [But] if the news story is accurate, however, malware may have affected computer systems,” explained Sophos security expert Graham Cluley.

“[For example], if they had been working properly without interference, [it] would have meant the flight might never have attempted to take off in the first place.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know the name of the malware that is under suspicion in this case, so it’s tricky to comment further. [So], next time someone tries to convince you that the people who write malware aren’t really doing anyone any serious harm – remember this case.”

The final report from crash investigators is expected to be completed in December.