International Space Station Infected by Malware, Cyber Weapons and Porn Pop Ups…

Speaking at a Nation Press Club event in Canberra Australia, Russian security expert Eugene Kaspersky caused a stir when he informed reporters that the International Space Station (ISS) has been infected by malware.

Even though the ISS has no internet connection in a traditional sense the flow of human traffic provides the perfect vector for electronic viruses, especially the USB sticks and laptops that they bring. Apparently this is not an uncommon situation aboard ISS. In the early days a number of PC’s were running Windows XP and this was an issue, switching many of these machines to Linux has reduced the impact.

“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.

Kasperskiy also went on to talk about Stuxnet, the first cyber weapon to be developed and released in to the wild. Warning of the dangers of releasing powerful cyber weapons,

Stuxnet is reported by many to have been jointly created by US and Israeli military forces to disable Iran’s nuclear program, which it was quite successful at. But according to Kaspersky there have been and there always will be unexpected consequences. In one example he reports Stuxnet was responsible for badly damaging a Russian nuclear power plant.

In this modern computerized world there are risks and dangers posed by the very computers that help make this modern world possible, caution must be taken but over-reacting avoided.  Although it would make for a far better story if a James Bond style super villain were vying for control of ISS. Has the cyber battlefield stretched all the way to space, or was this simply a case of bad luck that resulted in a storm of Viagra emails and porn pop ups in space?

Reference: Daily Mail
Reference: Computerworld
Reference: Mashable