Nightly News   |  October 09, 2011

Virus infects top-secret government systems

A virus has infected top-secret government computers that control remote-piloted drones used by the military to spy on and kill terrorists overseas. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> tonight nbc news learned more about the virus, the computer virus that infectioned top secret government computer systems that control remotely piloted drones which the u.s. military used to spy on and attack terror targets overseas. pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski has more tonight from our washington bureau. jim, good evening to you.

>> reporter: good evening, lester. these unmanned drones, many armed with those deadly accurate hell fire missiles are supposed to be the future of u.s. warfare, but they run into a serious glitch. u.s. military officials confirm that a virus has infected the highly classified computers that allow piloted air force bases in nevada to fly droenz against targets half a world away and they still haven't found a way to shake it. there is no indication yet the virus has actually compromised classified material and the air force pilots continue to fly their missions by remote control . we're also told the cia predator drones that have launched attacks against al qaeda and other enemy targets have not been hacked by this virus. the military's aggressively trying to track down the source of the bug. they admit they're deeply concerned but say so far nobody panicked. this does raise serious questions, however, about the system's overall vulnerability to cyberattacks that could actually go well beyond this stubborn virus, lester.

>> disturbing questions. jim miklaszewski , thank you.