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NASA Breaches Leak ISS Control Code

A laptop computer--one of 48 devices that went missing from the space agency between 2009 and 2011--contained algorithms to command the space station.
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A laptop computer stolen from NASA in March 2011 contained algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station (ISS), one of a number of breaches that raise new concerns about the agency's ability to protect sensitive data, an agency watchdog official told Congress.

NASA reported the loss or theft of 48 computing devices between April 2009 and April 2011, resulting in the unauthorized release of private data, including ISS control codes, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin said in his written testimony submitted to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Martin testified before the committee about NASA's IT security, which apparently is lacking when it comes to protecting data. Although NASA also has leaked sensitive data through lost hardware and other ways over the last several years, the agency continues to lag behind others in encrypting its data, he said.

In addition to the ISS codes, the laptops that went missing also contained personally identifiable information, third-party intellectual property, social security numbers, and sensitive data on NASA's Constellation and Orion programs, according to Martin.

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