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Cybersecurity Threat Faced by NASA during the Government Shutdown Cybersecurity Threat Faced by NASA during the Government Shutdown
News | 02/06/2019

Cybersecurity Threat Faced by NASA during the Government Shutdown


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NASA Faced Cybersecurity Threats During Government Shutdown

In December 2018, when the U.S. government had partially shut down, almost all the NASA employees were absent for 35 days that led to missed paychecks and postponed space science missions.

The shutdown also threatened NASA's cybersecurity such that every day for 35-days shutdown, the agency faced one cybersecurity threat.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator in agency headquarter at Washington DC said, “In US’s federal government NASA is one of the most attacked agency when it comes to the cybersecurity."

He further quoted, “Across the globe, every government is interested in our science work because we are very advanced in technology, it determines the ultimate balance of power on Earth. Some people would always try to hack in NASA for their own benefits and purposes.”

During the US government shutdown, nearly 95 percent of employees couldn’t come to work. Those who were working in NASA's Security Operations Center (SOC), didn’t stop fighting cybersecurity threats even for a single day.

NASA's Chief Information Officer, Renee Wynn during the town hall meeting said, “The NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) located in California, operates 24/7 every year, monitors and take care of our networks."

SOC is responsible for protecting data and the honesty of all the data which NASA gets from its work. Followed by the attacks, SOC researched every single cyber attack incident during the shutdown.

On an average, NASA faced one attack per day, but hackers couldn’t break into its computers. As a result, not even a single employee lost its data because cybersecurity was fully functional during the 35 days shutdown.

For example, during the shutdown, a few NASA websites were taken down as their certificates had expired. The sites were insecure and vulnerable to hacking.

Therefore, putting data at risk is not the agency’s way of doing things. In 35-days shutdown period, NASA took down at 35 sites as the information wasn’t critical and didn’t mean to be shared.

Also, Read: How to Prevent ITLOCK Ransomware [.ITLOCK Files Recovery]

Those employees who were at work during the shutdown had problems running software programs as the licenses weren’t renewed and couldn’t install security patches every day.

But, on the first day at work after the end of the shutdown, the employees waited patiently while computers were getting updates and security patches installed once again.

NASA’s server security lapse last year exposed data related to staff and projects, but the space agency never responded to the private disclosure.

Dozens of hacks were tried in 2011, but the space exploration agency increased the security, and for the next five years nothing major happened at the forefront of NASA’s headquarters.

Between 2016 to 2018, several data breaches were tried by the hackers, even employees reported data compromise reports, but everything was always under control of NASA.

Despite any cyber attack, NASA had no external-facing, security issues, federal government issues, etc. The space center is now planning to advance its security by adding blockchain technology to battle malicious threats and hacking tools.

The agency will now work with Hiperledger Fabric Certificate Authority (HFCA) to control data by reducing security vulnerabilities and increasing server security.

The richest and biggest space exploration center of the world - NASA is already involved in moves to support blockchain projects, and we hope to see a better cyber defense system soon on our servers.

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