So you’ve got an unmanned flying drone with deadly weapons, controlled by ground stations that could be hundreds or thousands of miles away. Of course you run it with the most popular and least secure operating system on the planet! I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
I’ve said it before, in all-caps and bold italics: DO NOT USE AN INSECURE FREAKIN’ CONSUMER OS LIKE WINDOWS ON VITAL CONTROL SYSTEMS!
At least a few of the higher-ups in the military seem to have learned to listen to what their technical people have likely been saying for years. With any luck it’ll filter out to the private sector too, and sooner rather than later.
EDIT, three hours later: in an ironic twist, it turns out that today is the tenth anniversary of the Bill Gates’ “trustworthy computing” memo. While the change in focus has been welcome, it hasn’t really hardened Windows, just elminiated the most blatant insecurities. Windows remains basically a single-user consumer OS, and still tries to be consumer-friendly at the expense of security. So long as Microsoft refuses to require people to learn anything in order to use Windows, it will never be secure.
This may sound strange, but that isn’t necessarily problem. A consumer OS should be easy to use, and shouldn’t require the user to learn any more than he could pick up by sitting at the keyboard and playing with it. At the same time, such an OS should never be used for anything vital — leave it to what it’s good for, which doesn’t include anything that requires security.