Hackers Had Full Control of NASA Computers – Report


Hackers successfully breached NASA’s computer security and had full control of systems at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a report released this week said.
A total of 47 “advanced persistent threats” – or sophisticated cyberattacks, were recorded for 2011 alone. Thirteen of them successfully gained access to NASA’s computers in varying degrees of privilege, the report said.
One attack, using an IP address from China, successfully gained “full system access” to systems at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This gives the intruders the ability to delete or change sensitive files or user accounts. The space agency’s inspector general, Paul K. Martin, admitted that “the attackers had full functional control over these networks.”
These attacks uses advanced tools and techniques and could only be perpetrated by groups or individuals with access to funding.
Aside from the attacks coming from organized groups, the agency weathered a total of 5,408 attacks “that resulted in the installation of malicious software on or unauthorized access to its systems” in 2010 and 2011.
The attacks range from individuals who are testing their hacking skills to members of organized criminal groups hacking for profit to hackers supported the intelligence service of other countries. NASA conducted investigations related to the attacks, leading to the arrests of hackers in Romania, Nigeria, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Estonia, and China.
Theft has also been a consistent problem with the agency aside from hacking. In one case, the theft of an unencrypted notebook led to the loss of the algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station.
All in all, a total of forty eight mobile computing devices were stolen between April 2009 and April 2011 from the agency.

Jon Mills

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