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article imageStolen NASA laptop had space station controlling algorithm on it

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By Sean Fraser     Mar 1, 2012 in Science
One would think that NASA would be rather secure given the nature of their work, but numerous security breaches have occurred over the past few years, including the theft of a laptop containing codes to control the ISS.
General Paul Martin, the Inspector General for NASA, revealed Thursday that from 2010 to 2011, NASA had over 5,400 computer security breaches, and in March 2011 a laptop was stolen that contained algorithms used to command the International Space Station.
In his statement, General Martin stated that "between April 2009 and April 2011, NASA reported the loss or theft of 48 Agency mobile computing devices, some of which resulted in the unauthorized release of sensitive data including export-controlled, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and third-party intellectual property. " This number includes the stolen laptop.
Martin cites that a key to securing mobile computing devices is the use of data encryption, but the practice of full disk encryption is not used. He states that only 1 percent of the NASA devices are encrypted, as compared to the 54 percent average for other government agency devices.
According to the Daily Mail, General Martin also revealed that NASA suffered 47 cyber attacks by hackers, including an attack on the Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA that originated in China.
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