Zynga: Mafia Wars is not connected to Air Force drone fleet virus

Air Force drone pilots
Air Force drone pilots

It seems that Zynga's Mafia Wars might not have anything to do with this Air Force drone scare, after all. Speaking to Kotaku, Zynga Chief Security Officer Nils Puhlmann said, "We have no indications that suggest Zynga's Mafia Wars was connected with the malware that infected the Pentagon's drone program."

Earlier this week, an anonymous defense official told the Associated Press that the virus that has infected the hard drives of remote cockpits used to pilot Air Force drones "is routinely used to steal log-in and password data from people who gamble or play games like Mafia Wars online." While the official simply name-dropped Mafia Wars, it seemed terribly specific.

However, Zynga's Puhlmann said to Kotaku, "We actively take steps to maintain and protect the trust of our customers, including educating our players about the risks associated with visiting untrusted sites and downloading untrusted applications. Both of those actions can increase the risk of getting infected with malware."

The malware that infected the cockpits' hard drives was first found on a connected thumb drive, but according to Air Force Space Command spokesperson Colonel Kathleen Cook, the malware has since been isolated and has not affected the drones directly. While it's possible that the drone crews weren't specifically playing Mafia Wars while said thumb drive was connected to either a personal or military PC, the malware was likely designed to attack social networks with such games on them.

According to Cook, the malware was found on a stand-alone, Windows-based support network and was considered a nuisance rather than a threat. However, the origins of the malware have yet to be determined, only narrowed slightly. Whether a social network website like Facebook was accessed through a military computer with the drive connected, or the infected drive was used on a personal computer, is still a mystery.

[Image Credit: Sky News]

Now that Zynga has made a statement looking to clear things up, what do you think might have caused the virus? Have you ever logged into Facebook while at work or played a social game at work? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.