Malware a Factor in Spanair Plane Crash

Event Year: 2011 Reliability: Confirmed
Country: Spain
Industry Type: Transportation

On August 20, 2008 Spanair flight 5022 crashed just after takeoff from Madrid-Brajas International Airport killing 154.  There were 18 survivors.  A preliminary investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board indicated that the plane had taken off with its flaps and slats retracted and no alarm had been heard to warn of this.  The systems delivering power to the take-off warning system had failed.  Two earlier events were not reported by the automated system.  The malware detected on the Spainair central computer system was a Trojan.  It may have played a role in the crash by causing the computer to fail to detect three technical problems with the aircraft.  If the problems were detected, take-off may have been prevented.


A Trojan infected computer may not have detected three technical issues that caused the plane to crash shortly after take-off.  The crash resulted in the death of 154 passengers.  Eighteen passengers survived.  The final accident report is expected in December 2010.