NASA Laptop Theft Puts Thousands of Employees & Contractors at Risk

NASA Laptop Theft Puts Thousands of Employees & Contractors at Risk

So far NASA have been targeted several times, where hackers penetrated the digital security. But here comes a bit different type of breach. A laptop with data on thousands of employees and contractors has been stolen from a NASA employee's car. NASA issued serious warning and it it informing its employees that a laptop computer with personnel information such as social security numbers was stolen from a locked car two weeks ago, potentially putting thousands of workers and contractors at risk. The laptop, issued to an employee at NASA headquarters in Washington, was password protected but its disk was not fully encrypted, making it relatively easy to access the information stored in that hard disk. This security breach  may affect thousands of employees and contractors at NASA facilities around the United States.
NASA has contracted a specialist consulting firm to identify and contact persons affected by the data breach, saying that the process could take up to 60 days due to the large amount of data. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden banned the removal of unencrypted laptops containing sensitive information from any NASA facility and ordered security software upgrades to be finished by December 21. NASA has now instructed its employees to use full disk encryption (FDE) to lock down hard drives on all devices that process critical data by this 21st December. The agency also warned employees about storing sensitive data on smart phones and mobile devices. The agency is offering employees free credit-monitoring services and other support.
The laptop theft is the latest in a string of NASA security breaches over the past few years. In March, a Kennedy Space Center worker's laptop that contained personal information on about 2,300 employees and students was stolen. A NASA inspector general report this year determined 48 NASA laptops and mobile computing devices were lost or stolen between April 2009 and April 2011, many containing sensitive data.

-Source (Reuters)


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