Royal Navy systems hit by computer virus

The communication systems of the Royal Navy have been hit by a virus, affecting IT systems including email and internet access aboard its warships.

The MoD said that the performance of its IT systems had been affected by the virus. It stressed that no weaponry or navigation systems had been affected, and that there were no infections detected on any networks that had sensitive information.

A report from the Portsmouth News said that sailors from the HMS Ark Royal flagship could not send messages home using the NavyStar network.

It was also reported that 75 per cent of the Royal Navy systems had been affected, but this could not be confirmed by the MoD.

The NavyStar system was fitted by Fujitsu in 2001. The PCs used for the ships are built using normal commercial components, but were packaged to make them smaller and better suited for the difficult conditions of a Royal Navy environment.

A solution to prevent re-infection has already been tested and implemented with the majority of systems working normally, though it was still an ongoing process.

The MoD confirmed a blog post by Sophos's security expert Graham Cluley, where he guessed that the systems were not targeted by hackers.

He said: "It's more likely that a human error or lapse in security accidentally let a virus or worm spread across the systems."

However he added: "We would expect those bodies responsible for the security of the country to have proper defences in place."