Space Agency IG Reveals The Theft In Congressional
A laptop which contained command codes for the International
Space Station was stolen last year, according to Congressional
testimony from the NASA Inspector General. It was one of 48
pilfered from the agency between April 2009 and April 2011.
In written testimony presented to a House committee looking into
NASA security, IG Paul K. Martin said that “(t)he March 2011
theft of an unencrypted NASA notebook computer resulted in the loss
of algorithms used to command and control the International Space
Station. Other lost or stolen notebooks contained Social Security
numbers and sensitive data on NASA’s Constellation and Orion
CBS Television reports that Martin said that computer thefts and
over 5,400 computer security incidents in the last two years cost
the agency about $7 million. “These incidents spanned a wide
continuum from individuals testing their skill to break into NASA
systems, to well-organized criminal enterprises hacking for profit,
to intrusions that may have been sponsored by foreign intelligence
services seeking to further their countries’
objectives,” he said.
In one cyber attack hackers got away with the credentials for
over 150 NASA employees. In all, 13 of 47 attempted cyber attacks
against the agency resulted in the hacker gaining access to
unencrypted data last year.
The OMB says that only about one percent of NASA's laptops and
other portable devices are encrypted. Martin said that until the
agency adopts a comprehensive encryption policy, its data will
remain vulnerable to such attacks.