French fighter planes were unable to take off after military computers were infected by a computer virus, an intelligence magazine claims.
The aircraft were unable to download their flight plans after databases were infected by a Microsoft virus they had already been warned about several months beforehand.
At one point French naval staff were also instructed not to even open their computers.
Microsoft had warned that the “Conficker” virus, transmitted through Windows, was attacking computer systems in October last year, but according to reports the French military ignored the warning and failed to install the necessary security measures.
The French newspaper Ouest France said the virus had hit the internal computer network at the French Navy.
Jérome Erulin, French navy spokesman told the paper: “It affected exchanges of information but no information was lost. It was a security problem we had already simulated. We cut the communication links that could have transmitted the virus and 99 per cent of the network is safe.”
However, the French navy admitted that during the time it took to eradicate the virus, it had to return to more traditional forms of communication: telephone, fax and post.