NASA admits computer viruses have made it into space

NASA has admitted that a computer virus was taken to the ISS in July. And it’s not the first time!

The laptops infected with the virus were used to run nutritional programs and let the astronauts periodically send e-mail back to Earth.

The laptops carried by astronauts reportedly do not have any anti-virus software on them to prevent infection.

Once it has scooped up passwords and login names the Gammima.AG worm virus tries to send them back to a central server. It targets a total of 10 games most of which are popular in the Far East such as Maple Story, HuangYi Online and Talesweaver.

Nasa is working with partners on the ISS to find out how the virus got on to the laptop in the first place.

That’s certainly rather benign, but perhaps it’s time to start thinking of Norton, NASA. Although come to think of it, Norton could bring down the Space Station by itself.

Computer viruses make it to orbit

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9 Responses to NASA admits computer viruses have made it into space

  1. tcadell says:

    The ability to add functionality based on an email message is amazing – what a useless feature.

    And why is my operating system writable? Shouldn’t it be in a read-only partition of the filesystem?

  2. Trent Hawkins says:

    I’m not sure why they’re not using a more proprietary software like a Unix based OS.

  3. OLAF9000 says:

    daisy daisy daisy…

  4. OLAF9000 says:

    lol @ #1 :D

  5. shMerker says:

    I think they could solve this problem by not playing Maple Story on mission critical devices.

  6. Anonymous says:

    you’re doing it wrong, see: http://www.xkcd.com/463/
    the last thing you want in space is for the computer to bog down during some important calculations to keep in orbit because its time for Norton’s weekly scan.

  7. shutz says:

    …or a more open-source, free, and easily-customizable (so it can be made as bullet-proof as they need it to be) OS such as Linux.

  8. Gary61 says:

    “What are you doing, Dave? No, you cannot disable tracking cookies, and I will not open the pod bay doors.”

  9. dghenke says:

    “Start thinking of Norton?”

    Goodness gracious, no.

    Virus scanners are for improving the SNR of incoming email streams.

    If you are in a position where antivirus software can help you avoid getting infected, you’ve already lost. (AV software can, by nature, only stop known threats, not entirely new ones.)

    Say, rather: start thinking of not engaging in virus-enabling behavior whilst driving things like spacecraft (and battleships, et alia) that are risky enough as is, and involve big chunks of public funds.

    If someone you don’t know sends you a bunch of bytes, software acting on your behalf should show you those bytes, not do what those bytes say to do.

    Those who sacrifice security for a temporary convenience (by choosing software that gets this wrong) deserve neither.

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