Architecture, Application security, Network security

Worm hits unsecured space station laptops

NASA has confirmed that laptops taken on to the International Space Station (ISS) last month carried the W32.Gammima.AG virus, which steals the login details for online games popular in the Far East, such as "Maple Story" and "Talesweaver."

W32.Gammima.AG – first detected a year ago – sends the personal data it collects back to a central server. The bug, considered low-risk by anti-virus firm Symantec, is not thought to be a threat to the control and command system, or to any ISS operations.

NASA spokeman Kelly Humphries said in a statement that this was not the first time that the ISS had been affected by malware, merely calling it a “nuisance.”

The laptops did not have any anti-virus protection or detection systems loaded, she said. They were being used to run nutrition experiment programs and gave astronauts email access. NASA believes that the virus was either loaded with software or transferred via a personal compact flash card.

NASA is investigating the problem with its Russian counterparts to see where it stemmed from and to learn what measures can be taken to prevent a repeat of the situation.

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