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Wed Aug 27, 6:22 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – NASA confirmed on Wednesday that a computer virus sneaked aboard the International Space Station only to be tossed into quarantine on July 25 by security software.

A “worm type” virus was found on laptop computers that astronauts use to send and receive email from the station by relaying messages through a mission control center in Texas, according to NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries.

The virus is reported to be malicious software that logs keystrokes in order to steal passwords or other sensitive data by sending the information to hackers via the Internet.

The laptop computers are not linked to any of the space station’s control systems or the Internet.

“The bottom line is it is a nuisance for us,” Humphries told AFP. “The crew is working with teams on the ground to eradicate the virus and look for actions to prevent that from happening in the future.”

The virus had no adverse effect on space station operations, according to Humphries.

The space station orbits Earth once every 90 minutes at an altitude of about 350 kilometers (217 miles).

NASA is reportedly looking into whether the virus got into the computers by hiding in a memory drive used to store music, video or other digital files.

Humphries said this is not the first computer virus stowaway on the Space Station.

“This is not a frequent occurrence but it has happened before,” Humphries said.

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SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Music website Last.fm on Wednesday launched an ad-based online service that lets people listen for free to songs of their choosing.

“We’re giving the listener free access to what is basically the best jukebox in the world,” said Last.fm co-founder Martin Stiksel.

“The ability to dip into a uniquely broad catalogue from your laptop, home or office computer, and listen to whatever you want for free represents a new way of consuming music.”

Last.fm, which was bought in May of last year by US entertainment powerhouse CBS Corp., offers the service in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany and promised to roll it out globally in coming months.

Last.fm claims it is the first music website to offer free, global, on-demand access to an extensive catalogue of songs from the four major record labels — Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI.

“It is clear to us that communities built around great content are increasingly driving traffic and revenue online,” said CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves.

“We acquired Last.fm because music is one of the best ways to build communities on the Internet.”

Last.fm limits to three the number of times any listener can play a particular song, referring them on the fourth try to iTunes, Amazon or another online music seller to buy the work.

Last.fm also announced an “artist royalty” deal for musicians with no record label ties. Unsigned artists can upload their songs to Last.fm, which will pay them each time someone listens to their music.

“We’re building a platform to help redesign the music economy, enabling artists and labels to earn revenue according to how people listen, rather than how they buy,” said Last.fm co-founder, Felix Miller.

“For the first time, anyone can upload tracks and get paid when those tracks are played. It’s a whole different model.”

Last.fm was launched in London in 2002 and uses feedback from members to power a “recommendation engine” steering people to music based on their expressed tastes.

Last.fm reports that it is used by more than 20 million people monthly from 240 countries.

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