NASA ‘Lost total control’ of lab computers to hackers

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Last year, NASA computers were hacked into a total of 13 times. In the worst cases, it was reported that they lost ‘full control’ of their computers to hackers.

In 2010 and 2011, NASA spent $58 million of their 1.5 billion IT budget on cyber security – this is because NASA have been a prestige target for hackers of all ages and experience.

The lab that was hacked into, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, controls 23 spacecraft currently undertaking missions to places such as Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

One of the computers at NASA was compromised by hackers operating from a Chinese IP address by them obtaining access codes from a laptop that was stolen before the data on it was encrypted. This allowed the hackers to take control of a machine in NASA’s lab and upload hacking tools so that they were able to compromise further machines. Their access also allowed them to be able to modify, copy or delete sensitive files held by NASA.

The hackers were able to conceal their presence by modifying server access logs so that no entries of their access are saved.

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