Houston, We Have a Problem: NASA Security Breached

By Rich Steeves November 15, 2012

The bad news is that a NASA laptop was stolen recently, resulting in a major security breach. The good news is that neither the Klingon nor Romulan Empires are implicated in the theft.

NASA employees faced a nasty trick (and certainly not a treat) on Halloween when they learned that a company laptop and documents were stolen from a locked car. According to Richard Keegan, Jr., associate deputy administrator for the agency, the laptop contained sensitive personal information about a large number of NASA employees and contractors.

"Although the laptop was password protected, it did not have whole disk encryption software, which means the information on the laptop could be accessible to unauthorized individuals," Keegan told employees in an e-mail. "We are thoroughly assessing and investigating the incident, and taking every possible action to mitigate the risk of harm or inconvenience to affected employees." 

Earlier in the year, another laptop theft occurred under NASA’s watch. The computer contained names, Social Security Numbers, e-mail addresses, dates of birth and other personal data of NASA employees.

In response to the breach, NASA has hired data breach experts to deal with the existing situation and has promised potential victims access to free credit and identity theft monitoring services. Going forward, NASA will now implement full disk encryption on all agency laptops. NASA has also instructed employees to cease removing computers from NASA facilities unless the devices are fully encrypted.

There is no word on whether the stolen laptops contain any information on the alien life forms working at NASA. Presumably, their personal information is stored on isolinear chips on a Defiant class starship cloaked and in orbit around the planet.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

TechZone360 Web Editor

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