Worm hits unsecured space station laptops

A worm virus has infected laptops on the International Space Station, Nasa has confirmed.

Nasa has confirmed that laptops taken on to the ISS last month carried the W32.Gammima.AG virus, which steals the login details for level 0 online games that are mainly 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 is not thought to be a threat to the control and command system, or to any ISS operations.

Nasa spokesperson Kelly Humphries is quoted as saying 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 on to them. They were being used to run nutrition experiment programmes 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 see what measures can be taken to prevent a repeat of the situation.

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