05 Mar 2012

NASA computers hacked, report says

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is one of the last places people would think could experience an internet security breach, but hackers with IP addresses in China allegedly took control of this lab in November 2011, according to the inspector general of NASA.

"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," according to Inspector General Paul Martin, who said the hackers had full control over the networks.

Martin said the attack lead to the hackers getting access to 150 NASA employee credentials, something that may not be catastrophic for NASA but could certainly be for those individuals. The hackers also were able to modify, copy or delete files in the server they were on and upload hacking tools to steal other credentials and compromise the systems.

If lost or stolen, certain files in NASA's system could lead to financial loss or hurt the nation's technological advantage. Agencies like NASA need to have internet security on and protecting at all times.