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Who Infected the International Space Station?

W32.Gammima.AG found on orbiting network, but nobody's saying how it got there

NASA and other space agencies say they still don't know how the computers on the International Space Station contracted a virus that has spread across the orbiting environment.

NASA confirmed Wednesday that the W32.Gammima.AG virus has infected a number of computers on the International Space Station. W32.Gammima.AG, which is common to online gaming environments, is considered a low-level threat and is not expected to interfere with the computers' performance.

NASA says that its Windows-based computers are always checked and cleaned before launch. Computers on the Space Station are not directly connected to the Internet, though astronauts can send and receive mail via a KU band such as the ones used by orbiting satellites, a spokesman said.

That means that the virus either went undetected on at least one machine before launch, or that it was introduced by one of the astronauts via a portable storage device, such as a USB thumb drive, observers say.

The spokesman would not say whether the infected machines are linked to mission-critical systems on the Space Station.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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