International Space Station experienced “virus epidemics” due to infected USB drive

Nov 11, 2013
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International Space Station experienced “virus epidemics” due to infected USB drive

The international space station's computer systems were infected by an unspecified virus this year, according to Kaspersky. The malware made its way into space on a removable device carried by Russian astronauts, and though the extent of the damage hasn't been specified, it has been revealed that on occasion, the station has suffered "virus epidemics".

The malware seems to have been present for a while, with word having it the virus surfaced before May 2013 during a transition by the United Space Alliance over to Linux. A hard date for when the infection happened, however, has not been given, nor has it been explicitly stated that the infection is no longer a problem.

Before converting the SCADA systems -- the international space station's control systems -- over to Linux, Windows XP was the operating system of choice on dozens of laptops located in the space station. Scientists who used these Windows laptops would bring USB drives with them into space, and such was how the malware was transferred.

Though this particular infection hasn't been specified, reports have shown that in the past, a Russian astronaut brought a laptop aboard the ISS that harbored a W32.Gammima.AG worm, something that ended up spreading to other laptops running Windows XP. Now that the ISS has been migrated from the Windows system to Linux, the instances of these infections are likely to decrease.

SOURCE: International Business Times


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