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NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Remains at Risk of Cyber Attacks

1 min read

Jeff Brody

The problems with cybersecurity controls that contributed to previous data breaches at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California remain unresolved, which may put the research center at risk of cyber attacks, according to a new report by the agency’s inspector general. “Over the past 10 years, JPL has experienced several notable cybersecurity incidents that have compromised major segments of its IT network,” the IG said in the report issued Tuesday. 

The watchdog cited a 2011 incident where hackers took 87 gigabytes of data from 18 servers supporting JPL missions. Another breach in 2018 involved a compromised account that exposed nearly 500 megabytes of data from a major mission system. The cybersecurity weaknesses found at JPL include incomplete and inaccurate inventory of devices and apps on its networks, its vulnerable network gateway and the lack of defense controls and measures to deter cyber attacks. 

The IG recommends that NASA increase authorities for security officials to monitor JPL’s network security practices. The watchdog also wants the agency to review and update the center’s IT Security Database and to launch a training program for cybersecurity.