NASA to Hackers: Please. Steal Our Satellites.

NASA_Satellite_WikimediaCommonsHackers could take control of American spacecraft by exploiting holes in NASA’s computer system, according to a new report by the space agency’s inspector general.

Six computer servers inside NASA are so poorly secured that outside hackers could access them, potentially allowing the attackers to steal encryption keys, encrypted passwords and user account information.

It’s “a situation that could severely degrade or cripple NASA’s operations,” the report found.

What’s worse, NASA has known about the problems for almost a year. The inspector general discovered the computer vulnerabilities in May 2010. But so far the agency has not acted to fix the problem.

“Until NASA addresses these critical deficiencies and improves its IT security practices, the Agency is vulnerable to computer incidents that could have a severe to catastrophic effect on Agency assets, operations, and personnel,” according to the report.

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Image: NASA, via Wikimedia Commons

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