Hackers with IP addresses originating from China took control of computers in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory last November, according to a report from the space agency’s inspector general.
The attack led to intruders gaining access to 150 NASA employee credentials. Additionally, the report stated that the ongoing investigation into the incident found that the hackers gained the ability to “modify, copy or delete sensitive files” and “upload hacking tools to steal user credentials and compromise other NASA systems.
“In other words,” writes Inspector General Paul K. Martin, “the attackers had full functional control over these networks.”
Though highlighted, this attack was far from the only violation of NASA networks and computers.
In fiscal year 2011, NASA reported it was subject to 47 hacking incidents — 13 of which successfully compromised the agencies computers. In total, 5,408 computer security incidents “that resulted in the installation of malicious software on or unauthorized access to its systems” were reported by NASA in 2010 and 2011.