NASA Systems At Risk From Hacking Attacks

Keep on Guard!


It’s not surprising really, when I learned that the recently retired NASA space shuttle was still using 5.25″ floppy drives – I suspected that much of the NASA IT architecture was probably antiquated.

Also the recent SCADA related security scare, indicated the industrial and large-scale systems probably aren’t the most secure around.

Combine those two lines of reasoning together and you get a fairly solid conclusion that NASA networks (especially those controlling old equipment like shuttles) are probably horribly insecure.

An official audit of NASA’s network has concluded that the space agency faces a high risk of cyberattack.

Experts from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) paint a grim picture of the state of the space agency’s server infrastructure, warning that vulnerabilities in its systems leave it open to defacement, denial of service or information-stealing attacks.

In particular, six unnamed IT systems were found to be at risk to attacks that might allow hackers to seize remote control of critical systems over the net – which included systems that control spacecraft – as a result of unpatched software vulnerabilities. The OIG’s report (24-page PDF/703 KB, extract of conclusions below) also warns that sensitive account information is poorly protected and wide open to extraction for any attackers who make it past NASA’s perimeter defences.

Add that to the fact that back in 2008 The International Space Station Was Infected by a Virus and you should be fairly wary of NASA security.

OIG recently provided this with a recent security audit of the the server infrastructure and networks at NASA, the findings were not pretty. The full report is available for download here:

IG-11-017.pdf

Obviously NASA claims all the vulnerabilities found during the OIG audit have been fixed, but what about all the rest that haven’t been found yet? I sincerely hope they start implementing a more holistic approach to security rather than just reactive patching.


We found that computer servers on NASA’s Agency-wide mission network had high-risk vulnerabilities that were exploitable from the internet. Specifically, six computer servers associated with IT assets that control spacecraft and contain critical data had vulnerabilities that would allow a remote attacker to take control of or render them unavailable.

Moreover, once inside the Agency-wide mission network, the attacker could use the compromised computers to exploit other weaknesses we identified, a situation that could severely degrade or cripple NASA’s operations. We also found network servers that revealed encryption keys, encrypted passwords, and user account information to potential attackers. These data are sensitive and provide attackers additional ways to gain unauthorized access to NASA networks.

It is quite worrying as NASA has been a fairly frequent victim of cyber-crime and attacks, especially when it comes to stealing data. Remember the whole Gary McKinnon case is because he hacked NASA.

It was also suggested by an OIG audit in May 2010 that they implement an agency wide computer security program, it seems that hasn’t been done. Hopefully with this hitting the mainstream media this time around, something wil lget fixed.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Legal Issues, Privacy


Latest Posts:


BootStomp - Find Bootloader Vulnerabilities BootStomp – Find Android Bootloader Vulnerabilities
BootStomp is a Python-based tool, with Docker support that helps you find two different classes of bootloader vulnerabilities and bugs.
Google Chrome Marking ALL Non-HTTPS Sites Insecure July 2018 Google Chrome Marking ALL Non-HTTPS Sites Insecure July 2018
Google is ramping up its campaign against HTTP only sites and is going to mark ALL Non-HTTPS sites insecure in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68.
altdns - Subdomain Recon Tool With Permutation Generation altdns – Subdomain Recon Tool With Permutation Generation
Altdns is a subdomain recon tool in Python that allows for the discovery of subdomains that conform to patterns. The tool takes in words that could be present in subdomains under a domain (such as test, dev, staging) as well as takes in a list of subdomains that you know of.
0-Day Flash Vulnerability Exploited In The Wild 0-Day Flash Vulnerability Exploited In The Wild
So another 0-Day Flash Vulnerability is being exploited in the Wild, a previously unknown flaw which has been labelled CVE-2018-4878 and it affects 28.0.0.137 and earlier versions
dorkbot - Command-Line Tool For Google Dorking dorkbot – Command-Line Tool For Google Dorking
dorkbot is a modular command-line tool for Google dorking, which is performing vulnerability scans against a set of web pages returned by Google search queries in a given Google Custom Search Engine.
USBPcap - USB Packet Capture For Windows USBPcap – USB Packet Capture For Windows
USBPcap is an open-source USB Packet Capture tool for Windows that can be used together with Wireshark in order to analyse USB traffic without using a Virtual Machine.


Comments are closed.