Nasa hacked 13 times last year

2012-03-02 22:16

March 2 - Nasa said hackers broke into its computer systems 13 times last year, stealing employee credentials and gaining access to mission-critical projects in breaches that could compromise US national security.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration spends only $58m of its $1.5bn annual IT budget on cyber security, Paul Martin, the agency's inspector general, told a Congressional panel on Nasa security earlier this week.

"Some Nasa systems house sensitive information which, if lost or stolen, could result in significant financial loss, adversely affect national security, or significantly impair our nation's competitive technological advantage," Martin said in testimony before the US house committee on science, space and technology, released on Wednesday.

He said the agency discovered in November that hackers working through a Chinese-based IP address broke into the network of Nasa's jet propulsion laboratory.

He said they gained full system access, which allowed them to modify, copy, or delete sensitive files, create user accounts for mission-critical JPL systems and upload hacking tools to steal user credentials and compromise other Nasa systems.

They were also able to modify system logs to conceal their actions, he said.

"Our review disclosed that the intruders had compromised the accounts of the most privileged JPL users, giving the intruders access to most of JPL's networks," he said.

In another attack last year, intruders stole credentials for accessing Nasa systems from more than 150 employees.

Martin said the agency has moved too slowly to encrypt or scramble the data on its laptop computers to protect information from falling into the wrong hands.

Unencrypted notebook computers that have been lost or stolen include ones containing codes for controlling the International Space Station as well as sensitive data on Nasa's Constellation and Orion programmess and social security numbers, Martin said.

  • Antebellum - 2012-03-03 01:44

    Complete adn utter idiots, they only have themselves to blame. Why would you make servers that contain such sensitive and highly classified information accessible to networks outside of NASA? I thought these guys were supposed to be rocket scientists?

      Barefoot - 2012-03-03 06:47

      Only focus on the rocket part of rocket scientist

      Xavier7034 - 2012-03-03 08:04

      We could do with some of those so-called "idiots" here in SA. Name ONE rocket scientist here.........I know we are talking about the IT security though. It would be good if ALL the nations on earth could actually cooperate to get into space. All the effort spent on squabbling, hacking, spying and stealing...We humans are sometimes so pathetic :-(

  • Ryan Holland - 2012-03-03 11:08

    China have always been good at stealing ideas and then selling them back as products; and we buy them because of the 5% price difference. What a bunch of mugs we are.

      Jerzy - 2012-03-04 21:37

      What a crock of crap. China now leads the world in patent filing.

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