They say in space, no one can hear you scream.
Of course, if the screaming is coming from you while you try and boot up an infected PC, there might be a couple people around within earshot. According to Eugene Kaspersky, longtime security expert and internet guru of the netsec world, the first virus to leave the planet has officially infected computers onboard the ISS, and wouldn’t youou know it it’s one of the most famous of all: Stuxnet.
The Stuxnet virus was originally designed to deter or disable centrifuges in Iran that were being used to enrich uranium. The enrichment process can end one of two ways; either in a power plant, or a nuclear bomb. Although it wasn’t the intention of the designers, much like non-state sponsored malware eventually the government lost control of the virus, and before they knew it every computer within 3,000 miles of the intended target was rocking all new software that could be tweaked and tuned to anyone’s liking to perform a wide variety of surveillance-style tasks.
It’s believed the ISS was infected the same way many other non-networked systems get the bug, through someone plugging in an infected USB key they brought up from Earth. And even though the ISS isn’t sporting the exact same equipment that Stuxnet went after in Iran, it’s possible that some of the same industrial controls it sought to manipulate are on board. Damage to those controls could have very grave consequences.
This isn’t the first time the virus has been spotted outside of Iran, as multiple sources report a Russian nuclear plant was also subject to attacks, although they were indirect and viewed as yet another loss of control over one of the most advanced pieces of malicious spyware to hit the net in decades.
To protect yourself from Stuxnet and the rest of its related maladies, make sure to stay tuned to VPNCreative for all the latest news, reviews, and previews of the best VPN services in the business!