NASA suffers data breach – Staff’s personal data stolen

Another day, another data breach – This time, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has suffered a data breach in which personal data of the agency’s employees have been stolen.

In a notification obtained by SpaceRef, the data breach was identified on October 23rd, 2018. The initial analysis revealed that unknown hackers may have stolen social security numbers (SSN) and other personally identifiable information (PII) hosted on the compromised NASA server.

Although NASA is yet unclear about the total number affected, the agency believes that the breach has affected past and present employees respectively, especially “those NASA Civil Service employees who were on-boarded, separated from the agency, and/or transferred between Centers, from July 2006 to October 2018, may have been affected,” NASA said.

The agency vows to contact the targeted employees once investigations are concluded. Furthermore, those employees who had their PII stolen will be offered identity protection service.

“The ongoing investigation is a top agency priority, with senior leadership actively involved. NASA does not believe that any Agency missions were jeopardized by the cyber incidents,” explained Bob Gibbs, assistant administrator at NASA’s Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer.

It is unclear who is behind the attack on NASA but with the breach, the agency has enlisted itself as one of the major victims of a hack attack in recent months. In September this year, Facebook announced that it suffered a data breach in which phone numbers and location data of 30 million users were stolen. 

In November, Dell was forced to reset all customer passwords after suffering a data breach. In November again, Marriott announced that its hotels suffered a massive data breach in which sensitive data of 500 million guests stolen while four days after Quora revealed that it came under a cyber attack in which personal data of 100 million users was stolen.

As for NASA, this is not the first time when the agency has suffered a cyber attack. In September 2015; a security researcher identified that VxWorks Operating System that is installed in numerous devices including NASA’s Curiosity Rover contained Backdoor.

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