Hackers had ‘full functional control’ of Nasa computers

Posted on March 2, 2012

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Hackers gained “full functional control” of key Nasa computers in 2011, the agency’s inspector general has told US lawmakers.

Paul K Martin said hackers took over Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) computers and “compromised the accounts of the most privileged JPL users”.

He said the attack, involving Chinese IP addresses, was under investigation.

In a statement, Nasa said it had “made significant progress to protect the agency’s IT systems”.

Mr Martin’s testimony on Nasa’s cybersecurity was submitted to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight.

State of security

In the document, he outlined how investigators believed the attack had involved “Chinese-based internet protocol addresses”.

He said that the attackers had “full system access” and would have been able to “modify, copy, or delete sensitive files” or “upload hacking tools to steal user credentials and compromise other Nasa systems”.

Mr Martin outlined how the agency suffered “5,408 computer security incidents” between 2010 and 2011.

BBC

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