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August 27th, 2008

Computer Worm Infects International Space Station Laptops

NASA has confirmed that a computer worm that steals passwords managed to finds its way into laptops aboard the International Space Station. It is not the first time a NASA computer has become infected. identified the infection as W32.TGammima.AG, a worm that spreads by copying itself to removable media devices. Once in place, it steals passwords to various online games, according to anti-virus software provider Symantec, which first spotted the worm 12 months ago.

The infected machines were not considered mission critical, meaning they weren’t responsible for command and control. The NASA spokesman was unable to say if the infected laptops were connected to mission-critical systems. NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries said that NASA downplayed the news, calling the virus mainly a “nuisance” that was on non-critical space station laptops used for things like e-mail and nutritional experiments. NASA and its partners in the space station are now trying to figure out how the virus made it onboard and how to prevent that in the future, according to Humphries.

Because more than one laptop was infected, it’s reasonable to assign blame to an internal network or thumb drive.

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