A computer virus has been discovered on laptop computers on the International Space Station (ISS).

It is thought to have infected the machines after being passed from a flash or USB drive used by one of the astronauts.

Gammima.AG. is not the first computer virus in space and Nasa says that none of the command or control systems of the ISS are at risk. No anti-virus software is installed on the computers.

Huston, we have a worm problem

The laptops are used for sending emails from time to time and controlling the astronauts diet. The worm virus infecting them targets online games popular in the Far East for which it tries to steal passwords and login names before sending them back to a server.

It hunts down 10 of the more popular games in the region including Maple Story, Talesweaver and HuangYi Online.

Previous viruses found on the space station have amounted to no more than a 'nuisance' though Nasa is planning to improve its security system to avoid a repetition.

The ISS has no direct internet connection with Planet Earth and all emails are first scanned. Efforts to freejack from broadband connections in Venus have consistently failed while a fixed line connection with Earth has been dismissed as both 'impractical' and 'ridiculous'.