October 1, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The memory sticks were scattered in a washroom at a US military base in the Middle East that was providing support for the Iraq war.
They were deliberately infected with a computer worm, and the undisclosed foreign intelligence agency behind the operation was counting on the fallibility of human nature. According to those familiar with the events, it calculated that a soldier would pick up one of the memory sticks, pocket it and – against regulations – eventually plug it into a military laptop.
It was correct.
The result was the delivery of a self-propagating malicious worm into the computer system of the US military’s central command – Centcom – which would take 14 months to eradicate.