NASA released information about hackers attempting to gain access to all sorts of classified information and control systems. Apparently NASA was the target of 47 hacker attacks in 2011, of which 13 were successful. Some of these hackers gained “full system access” which includes the ability to edit or delete any files contained on secured computers. They also had the ability to add, edit, view, or delete any or all user accounts. Malware isn’t just a common problem at home, as the agency reported over 5,400 malware infections this year alone. So what is the actual cost? According to the report, all these various attacks “"have affected thousands of NASA computers, caused significant disruption to mission operations, and resulted in the theft of export-controlled and otherwise sensitive data, with an estimated cost to NASA of more than $7 million".
While some of the IP addresses were tracked to China, these hackers could have come from anywhere on the planet. Some previous investigations found hackers from such countries as: China, Great Britain, Italy, Nigeria, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and Estonia. Not only are intrusions coming from foreign countries but sensitive data is being taken when NASA employees have their laptops stolen. 48 laptops have been lost or stolen within the last two years, including some with command and control operations for the International Space Station. Apparently the reason these laptops are not secure is that encryption takes too long. As of right now, there is no technological security monitoring at NASA and it shows. Unfortunately, this means that yet more money will have to be spent on security when we are in a time where funding for actual space projects is rapidly diminishing.