According to reports, Eugene Kaspersky claims that a Russian astronaut intentionally infected systems on the International Space Station with malware delivered via a removable USB storage device. The infection is thought to have taken place before May of this year, after a series of “virus epidemics” on the space station led the United Space Alliance to move all systems from Windows to the Linux operating system to make them more “stable and reliable.”
This was not the first instance of malware being transported to the space station, as other reports note that as early as 2008, another Russian astronaut had brought a laptop running Windows XP that was infected with the W32.Gammima.AG worm which quickly spread to other systems running the same operating system.
The assertion comes less than two weeks after revelations that commemorative gifts distributed by the Russian government to celebrate the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg last September were infected with data-stealing malware.
The gifts, which included USB drives and phone chargers emblazoned with the G20 Summit logo, were distributed to world leaders at the event. EU authorities are conducting an investigation to determine if the attendees were being targeted in an attempted espionage operation, and have warned other nations who participated in the conference of the potential threat to security.
Few details on the alleged space station infection are available at this time, and it is unclear if the event was intentional or not.
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