Trojans linked to Spanish air crash

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Claims malware messed with Spanair's safety system.

A judge in Spain has been tasked with investigating whether Trojans caused a Spanish airline's central computer to fail prior to its crash in 2008.

Spanair's JK 5002 crashed in Madrid in 2008, killing 154 of its 172 occupants.

Internal Spanair documents pointed to "Trojans" causing its central computer -- designed to monitor fault messages transmitted from the aircraft -- to fail, according to Spanish newspaper, El Pais.

The computer, located at Spanair's headquarters, was programmed to record technical faults. If three of the same type were recorded, the plane would normally be grounded.

The hearing has revealed that three technical problems of the same nature had been detected by the plane's systems in the two days prior to the crash. The third notification should have raised alarm bells and kept the plane grounded. But  while the faults were transmitted to Spanair's central computer, it never registered them.

An earlier investigation by Spain's aviation accident authority blamed pilot error for the crash.

The investigating judge has called on Spanair to release all entries in the said computer in the days preceding and following the disaster.

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