It seems no government
organisation is capable of protecting itself from hackers, not even NASA. A
recent revelation by a group of Hackers AnonSec, what is said to have hacked
720 websites from around the world has revealed how vulnerable NASA has been to
AnonSec hacked a server of NASA
accidentally in 2013 when they released a class of computer viruses named Gozi.
One of the NASA computers got infected by this virus resulting in granting
access to AnonSec to the data stored on it. AnonSec claims that it was able to
hack into the computer of NASA that got infected by its virus through a brute
force attack. It took the hackers mere 0.32 seconds to crack a “very simple”
admin password and access the root account of NASA’s server.
The hackers associated with
AnonSec maintained the access to the NASA server’s and eventually hacked Network
Attached Storage (NAS) devices of NASA giving them an unrestricted reach to
confidential and important NASA files. These NAS devices were used by NASA to
record the backup the flight plans of its drones. AnonSec rooted these devices which
allowed it to steal more data stored on these devices.
Further penetration into the
systems of NASA allowed the hackers to take control of the CCTV recordings from
NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center and Glenn
Research Center. These clips helped AnonSec to learn more about the Operation
Ice Bridge and Global Hawk drones of NASA.
Each Golden Hawk Drone is worth
US$222.7 million. Most of these drone missions have a specific flight plan.
AnonSec was successful in changing the flight plan of one of these drones and
tried to crash it. But a NASA engineer detected that there has been a change in
the flight plan of the drone and took its control manually thereby preventing
the crash. It was at this point that NASA detected AnonSec’s activities and
blocked their access on 9th April 2015.AnonSec now has details of 2414
employees of NASA, 2143 flight logs and 631 video recordings, which the group
is sharing online through Bit Torrents. A total of 275 GB of data has been
shared by AnonSec over the internet.