Discussion in 'malware problems & news' started by info, Aug 29, 2008.
Outer-space IT: A worm on the ISS
I would not worry. The software used in the space station, aircraft etc is no more sophisticated than os/2, if that. The fact someone's laptop - with Windows - was infected means nothing. Those thingies can't jump over to unix terminal.
The last time I read, the Space Shuttle was using 8086 processors, so Space Station can't be much ahead.
Of course, you are right. It could have come from anywhere, and probably will come as little surprise to security experts that something like this would happen to NASA sooner or later. Their computers are probably bug infested.
However, for a moment, I reflected upon the possibility that a little thing like a virus on an astronauts computer, or one of the laptops laying around in the ISS could bring down the entire contraption.
I once read that most space program computers where not that advanced. They use ancient and RELIABLE technology, to avoid surprizes.
I believe a BSOD mid-shuttle flight would produce a fair amount of "Houston, we have a problem"'s.
I have been checking up on the on-board computer capabilities of the shuttle and reading through the technical writings it seems that the shuttle has a 5 computer redundant inter-checking of data/executables (they also seem to possess "Artificial intelligence capabilities" allowing for the machines to "vote" when there is a data/executable inconsistencies which makes mistakes a true "improbable".
They are also not Microsoft OS's ( but seem to be IBM made machines with off the shelf hardware to facilitate quick upgrading).
I think that the laptops are not capable of trashing a mission even if infected.
From what I can tell they do indeed use rather sophisticated technologies (the claims of simple hardware/software seems to be urban legend based on the meager computer power of the Saturn missions ).
What we need is the insight of a NASA insider to clarify if the laptops can actually cause a catastrophic mistake if infected. It would be interesting to know the truth.
Here is one of the more easier related sites: