NASA centers fail to report cyberattacks

NASA's inspector general told a Senate subcommittee last week that parts of the agency are failing when it comes to fending off and reporting hacker attacks, leaving the agency vulnerable to people who would steal or alter sensitive data. Roberta Gross, IG for the agency, told the Senate Science, T

NASA's inspector general told a Senate subcommittee last week that parts of the agency are failing when it comes to fending off and reporting hacker attacks, leaving the agency vulnerable to people who would steal or alter sensitive data.

Roberta Gross, IG for the agency, told the Senate Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee that simple actions - such as recruiting more workers who are attuned to information security issues and making sure NASA centers use the latest software security patches - can go a long way toward making the agency's networks more secure.

But she said broader problems, such as failures by NASA centers to report cyberattacks, remains an obstacle to better oversight of information security. Moreover, she said an internal NASA organ-

ization - NASA's Automated Systems Incident Response Capability - must improve its performance. "That [organization] has not been performing adequately," she said. Gross added that her office next month will issue a report on NASIRC's performance.

Gross' criticism comes in the wake of a recent cyberattack on two NASA centers. She confirmed to FCW that the attacks occurred in the past month, but she declined to reveal which NASA centers had been attacked or any details of the attack. Gross also told FCW that her office had not fully analyzed the attacks to determine the amount of damage they may have caused or how they might have been prevented.

She said NASA centers did not report the two recent cyberattacks to her office. Rather, staff members in her office learned about the attacks through "other ways," which she did not identify. She said alerting top NASA officials of attacks is one of the "low-cost, free things" that NASA centers can do to help leaders defend against and prevent attacks.

Gross told senators Thursday that keeping NASA leaders, including those in the IG's office, informed of cyberattacks is important because of the agency's decentralized nature. NASA is made up of several centers.

"This multiple-center approach leads to serious coordination problems, diminishes corporate oversight and leaves NASA partners more vulnerable," she said. "NASA is a vulnerable target because it depends heavily on IT and the Internet to support the operations it conducts at its field centers and other facilities across the United States and abroad."

Subcommittee chairman Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) agreed. "In many ways [NASA's dependence on the Internet] does invite potential internal abuse and external abuse," he said.

Cathy Cromley, director of federal marketing for Secure Computing Corp., stressed the importance of sharing information when systems are abused or hacked. "In not sharing information internally, NASA and the government as a whole cannot benefit from lessons learned," she said.

Keith Cowing, editor of NASA Watch, an independent World Wide Web site, said NASA's security problems stem from inconsistencies at the agency. "Despite all the arm-waving and so forth, they've never really had a consistent [information security] policy," he said.

According to Cowing, NASA has to struggle to balance the public's interest in accessing NASA information via the Web with protecting sensitive information. "It again goes back to the chief information officers at each respective center having different policies," he said. "Some centers just seem to go out of their way to make things public."

NEXT STORY: Popularity Problems

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.