Risk
10/16/2009
04:16 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

NASA Told To Plug IT Security Holes

The space agency has suffered hundreds of security incidents, including malware, data breaches, stolen laptops, and bot nets, according to the GAO.

NASA was hit with more malware than any other federal agency in 2007 and 2008, according to a new report issued by the Government Accountability Office.

During that two-year period, NASA reported 1,120 security incidents, including the installation of malicious software on agency computers and unauthorized access to sensitive information, according to GAO. NASA laptops were stolen that stored unencrypted data on a prototype hypersonic jet (the X-51 scramjet) and test plans pertaining to a space telescope and lunar orbiter.

In another case, 82 NASA computers became part of a Ukraine-based bot net after being infected with rootkits. Separately, 86 computers were infected by the Zoneback Trojan, which can disable security software and run other malicious software.

After those attacks, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team urged the space agency to employ consistent patching and better train its employees in cyber security. Despite that warning, NASA found a number of machines infected with the Coreflood Trojan, which can steal user credentials, and "communicating with a hostile command and control server."

NASA has taken steps to improve incident response and strengthen its cybersecurity practices, but gaps remain, according to GAO. "NASA remains vulnerable to similar incidents going forward," the report finds. "Control vulnerabilities and program shortfalls make it possible for intruders, as well as government and contractor employees, to bypass or disable computer access controls and undertake a wide variety of inappropriate or malicious acts."

GAO made eight broad recommendations, including developing more fully NASA's risk assessment and security policies and procedures. It also issued a limited distribution report with nearly 200 specific recommendations addressing 129 identified weaknesses.

NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver concurred with GAO's recommendations. "Deficiencies with IT security are often a result of systemic issues in the management of IT," she said. "To this end, NASA continues to implement improvements in IT management, adhering to [a] previously developed strategy for providing an integrated, secure, and efficient IT environment that supports the NASA mission."



Read InformationWeek's first-ever analysis of top CIOs in federal, state, and local government, and how they're embracing new expectations. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-3562
Published: 2014-08-21
Red Hat Directory Server 8 and 389 Directory Server, when debugging is enabled, allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive replicated metadata by searching the directory.

CVE-2014-3577
Published: 2014-08-21
org.apache.http.conn.ssl.AbstractVerifier in Apache HttpComponents HttpClient before 4.3.5 and HttpAsyncClient before 4.0.2 does not properly verify that the server hostname matches a domain name in the subject's Common Name (CN) or subjectAltName field of the X.509 certificate, which allows man-in-...

CVE-2014-5158
Published: 2014-08-21
The (1) av-centerd SOAP service and (2) backup command in the ossim-framework service in AlienVault OSSIM before 4.6.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-5159
Published: 2014-08-21
SQL injection vulnerability in the ossim-framework service in AlienVault OSSIM before 4.6.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the ws_data parameter.

CVE-2014-5210
Published: 2014-08-21
The av-centerd SOAP service in AlienVault OSSIM before 4.7.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via a crafted (1) remote_task or (2) get_license request, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-3804 and CVE-2014-3805.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Three interviews on critical embedded systems and security, recorded at Black Hat 2014 in Las Vegas.