🚗 🚙 Turn your trusty old car into trustworthy journalism Learn more

Hackers took control of NASA operation

John Moe Mar 2, 2012

Well, this is disturbing. Reports are coming in that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) was not only hacked into but that the hackers effectively took control of the operation. This apparently happened in November. The breach appeared to have originated from a Chinese IP address and according to Wired it:

allowed the intruders to compromise the accounts “of the most privileged JPL users,” giving them “full access to key JPL systems,” according to Inspector General Paul K. Martin in a report to Congress.

The investigation of the breach is ongoing, but Martin says the intruders had the ability to modify sensitive files; modify or delete user accounts for mission-critical JPL systems; and alter system logs to conceal their actions.

These servers contain a lot of highly classified and valuable information which, in the wrong hands, could have major national security implications and result in all sorts of economic chaos as well.

As with a lot of these hacks, the question isn’t why some of these foreign agents (be they government-linked or independent actors) are getting in, the answer’s obvious. The  question is why this keeps happening. In following tech, rarely does a day go by without reading about some sort of hack taking place. Some of them are small, some of them are more annoying than harmful, but some of them involve seizing control of the freaking Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.