Cybersecurity

A Russian Cosmonaut Accidentally Infected the ISS with Stuxnet

Cosmonauts wave a Russian flag near the end of their spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

Cosmonauts wave a Russian flag near the end of their spacewalk outside the International Space Station. // NASA/AP

Russian security expert Eugene Kaspersky says that the infamous Stuxnet computer virus infected the International Space Station after being installed through a USB stick carried on board by a Russian cosmonaut.

Speaking to reporters at a National Press Club event in Canberra, Australia, last week, Kaspersky also says the virus infected a nuclear power plant in Russia and "badly damaged" their internal infrastructure. Kaspersky refused to provide details or elaborate on how the virus affected ISS operations or how engineering crews cleaned up the mess left behind by the world's most notorious computer virus.

The virus was allegedly jointly created by U.S. and Israeli military forces to seriously damage Iran's nuclear program. (Coincidentally, that relationship is very complicated right now.) Stuxnet became public knowledge after it malfunctioned -- or worked a little too well -- and infected millions of computers worldwide.

An interesting thing to note about the Russian cases is how neither system was connected to the internet when the infections occurred, suggesting the virus was deliberately planted by a foreign agent.

Read the full story at Atlantic Wire.

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