In Battlestar Galactica, the Colonial fleet is separated from Galactica when they are forced to jump to the emergency FTL jump coordinates. Battlestar Galactica is left behind, and after they realize that they must go back to Kobol to calculate the jumps, they decide to network the computers to make the calculations take less time.

This involves connecting the computers responsible for communication, navigation, and the engines. Linking the computers does not involve networking the computers with any external ship or server, as there are other friendly ships in the location.

So, how does a virus, only present in another data system completely separate from Galactica's, manage to introduce itself into an environment that it has no contact with?

If Galactica has no outgoing communication, there is nothing for the Cylons to 'hack' their way into.

  • I don't have any real evidence to say this, but my interpretation was that the Cylons were able to somehow infiltrate Galactica's computers. Not having them networked together would limit how much access they would get to all the ship's computers. Of course, this doesn't address the obvious questions of 1) how do they gain access any non-networked machine at all? And 2) what's to stop them from just infiltrating each non-networked computer individually?
    – Alarion
    Jan 7, 2016 at 4:58
  • "If Galactica has no outgoing communication" virus insertion happens with inflowing information
    – user001
    Jan 7, 2016 at 11:26
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    @user001 His point is that a connection needs to be made with the outside world for information to go either in or out. An initially clean computer can't get a virus if it never connects to any external systems.
    – DavidS
    Jan 7, 2016 at 11:39
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    But it IS connecting with the outside world. It is actively and passively scanning the environment around the ship, you see with the Raptors that it is when their radar is scanning is when the virus enters
    – user001
    Jan 7, 2016 at 11:55
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    You see the Cylon raiders send an optical pulse towards the ship, which can safely be assumed are attuned to the frequencies that the Nav system is scanning
    – user001
    Jan 7, 2016 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


The short answer to the question is 'it does not'. However in your question you're postulating that there is no virus already in Galactica's computers.

This is not known, and there are hints that it might not be the case:

  • in the previous Cylon war, Cylons had infiltrated military systems already and taken over ships. Commander Adama says something like "my ship will never have fully integrated systems as long as I'm in command" in one of the first episodes.

  • in the current war, Cylon spies have infiltrated military systems again. Adama knows that: they had reports from Helo about the Mark VII Vipers disabled by the attacking Raiders, and they had Apollo's Mark VII on board Galactica to conduct forensics on. So they are aware that there are viruses they may not have been able to detect.

  • Galactica was going to be turned into a museum, so its systems were not upgraded, nor was its software. So, while it would not have the latest viruses, they did not know when the intrusion happened; it could have been there dormant for years. And they do not have enough people to check the whole system code. Rebooting from the original firmware is possible but dangerous - the ship having been patched up a lot, and under attack quite often.

So in short Adama cannot trust all his hardware. Therefore he wants to keep the chances of making the situation worse to a minimum.


I feel like Galactica had a mainframe computer that you can talk to through serial data (like a terminal or ssh) that would allow it to talk to every other system's computer, but it had simply remained physically disconnected since the Cylon War. The features you would expect were there, but never used. Instead each system was run independent and with human oversite to input the data manually. So whatever terminal session with the theoretical mainframe Gaida was using was hacked.

  • 1
    Welcome to SFF:SE. We generally prefer answers with support from the source material. Can you cite any such support?
    – Politank-Z
    May 30, 2018 at 1:53

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