Now you think they’d know better than having Autorun enabled in the International Space Station? But no, they obviously didn’t and they got owned by some fairly innocuous thumb drive auto-spreader.
It wouldn’t really be news if anyone else got infected, but come on this is supposed to the pinnacle of security or something?
NASA confirmed this week that a computer on the International Space Station is infected with a virus. (See “Houston, we have a virus” at The Register.)
The malicious software is called W32.TGammima.AG, and technically it’s a worm. The interesting point, other than how NASA could let this happen, is the way the worm spreads–on USB flash drives.
Malicious software spread by USB flash drives and other removable media takes advantage of a questionable design decision by Microsoft. Windows is very happy to run a program automatically when a USB flash drive is inserted into a PC. How convenient, both for end users and for bad guys.
It once again comes down to convenience, security is the opposite of convenience – the more secure something is, the less usable it is and vice versa.
But that’s why there are experts in this field that can come to a decent balance between the two, both usability and security. Obviously these experts weren’t employed in this case..
Abrams blogged about this back in December, and I wrote about it in March. In that posting, I described how to disable autorun for Windows XP and Windows 2000 and I just revised it to include Vista.
In his December blog, Abrams writes, “Fundamentally, there are two types of readers here. The first type will disable autorun and be more secure. The second type will eventually be victims.”
Don’t be a victim, disable autorun (also known as autoplay) for all devices. It may be a bit inconvenient going forward, but to me, the added safety is well worthwhile.
I agree, don’t be a victim, run Linux! Ooops my bad, I mean disable autorun/autoplay and choose yourself what you want to run.
Source: Cnet (Thanks Morgan)
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