International Space Station Malware Virus Came on Russian USB Drive

Image: International Space Station Malware Virus Came on Russian USB Drive

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 11:40 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The International Space Station has had a malware virus courtesy of a Russian cosmonaut's USB drive, according to Russian security expert Eugene Kaspersky.

The disclosure was made last week while Kaspersky addressed reporters at a National Press Club event in Canberra, Australia, the Atlantic Wire reported.

"The space guys from time-to-time are coming with USBs, which are infected. I'm not kidding. I was talking to Russian space guys and they said, 'yeah, from time-to-time there are viruses on the space station,'" Kaspersky told reporters in Australia.

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Kaspersky refused to provide details about the malware that infected the International Space Station, the Atlantic Wire reported, noting that the security expert would not elaborate as to the severity of the infection or how it was apparently removed.

Kaspersky also told the press that the infamous Stuxnet virus, which had reportedly been created by a joint U.S.-Israeli hacking task force to disrupt Iran's nuclear program, had also found its way into a Russian nuclear power plant and in the process "badly damaged" its internal infrastructure.

The Stuxnet virus came to light in 2010
"to give operating instructions to the centrifuges' industrial control systems so they would spin out of control and damage the equipment, turning it inoperable; and at the same time the malware created a false set of data leading the Iranian supervisors to think the centrifuges were working properly," Kaspersky explained.

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In addition to temporarily curtailing Iran's nuclear program, Stuxnet, which spreads via Microsoft Windows and was designed to specifically target Siemens industrial control systems, subsequently spread to millions of computers worldwide.

Though it accomplished its initial task, Stuxnet could potentially come back to harm its makers, Kaspersky warned, considering once released such virus' coding is now available to cyber terrorists and independent hackers who can use the government-made computer worm to target the West installments.

"What goes around comes around," Kaspersky adding. "Everything you do will boomerang. . . There are no borders [in cyberspace]."

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