Stolen laptop from NASA contains codes needed to control the ISS

A total of 48 NASA-owned computers and mobile devices were stolen from the government agency’s employees from April 2009 to April 2011. Through the years, we’ve always thought the only data compromised were social security numbers and various information from some of the agency’s programs. But last February 29, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin faced a House subcommittee, and admitted that one of the stolen laptops contained actual codes needed to control the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA admitted that some of these theft cases led to the leakage of sensitive and personal data of its employees. The agency also confessed that it relied on its employees to report missing devices, so there may be more people whose privacies are at risk due to two years of regular thievery. But an agency spokesman assured Security News Daily in an email that the everyday operations of the ISS have never been compromised since that particular laptop was stolen in March 2011.

To ensure that nobody ever hacks the ISS in the future and use it for their own nefarious purposes, the company is working on beefing up its security system more. This security upgrade will also ensure that a separate incident in 2011 wherein various hackers planted malware in NASA computers — a breach that cost the agency $7 million — doesn’t happen a second time.

[Image credit: Wikimedia]

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