NASA Lost Laptop With Codes to Space Station

Amidst 5,407 other security breaches in the past two years
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2012 1:14 PM CST
The International Space Station is seen in this file photo.   (AP Photo/NASA, Paolo Nespoli)

(Newser) – NASA has had major computer security problems over the past two years, suffering 5,408 breaches, the agency's inspector general told Congress yesterday. "These incidents spanned a wide continuum, from individuals testing their skill to break into NASA systems, to well-organized criminal enterprises hacking for profit," Paul Martin said in written testimony. One breach that caught Discovery News' eye: The loss or theft of a laptop last year that contained the algorithms used to control the International Space Station.

That was just one of 48 mobile devices that have gone missing in recent years, "some of which resulted in the unauthorized release of sensitive data," Martin said. "Other lost or stolen notebooks contained Social Security numbers and sensitive data on NASA's Constellation and Orion programs." Indeed, NASA can't even accurately measure how much it has lost in these incidents, because it relies on employees to self-report. NASA says it's aware of the issues and that its IT security is "transforming and maturing." (Read more NASA stories.)

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