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10.19.09

Report Identifies Vulnerabilities In NASA's Networks


By Doug Caverly

Another reminder to stay on top of network security has come courtesy of NASA.  Yes, the organization responsible for sending the first man to the moon and multiple robot probes elsewhere in the galaxy is not doing the best job of keeping its networks off-limits to unauthorized parties.

The Government Accountability Office recently released a report titled "Information Security: NASA Needs to Remedy Vulnerabilities in Key Networks."  Not a great start, right?

Then, as a press release on the subject noted, the GAO "reported that NASA did not consistently implement effective controls to prevent, limit, and detect unauthorized access to its networks and systems."

The GAO cited a number of specific security incidents, too, including the installation of malicious software on NASA machines and instances of sensitive information being accessed.  All of which might make it sound like ordinary companies are doomed, given that they don't employ rocket scientists and receive all sorts of government funding.

The Best Value in Network Management

But here's a silver lining of sorts: the GAO "said that a key reason for these weaknesses is that NASA has not yet fully implemented key activities of its information security program to ensure that controls are appropriately designed and operating effectively."

Simply following the directions (in a manner of speaking) might have made NASA's networks a lot safer, then, and is certainly something that run-of-the-mill companies should do.  Safety's worth a few inconveniences.

Also, you may find it slightly uplifting to know that the GAO didn't talk about NASA losing any particular tidbits of critical data; the report focused more on what might happen at some point in the future if its current approach to network security persists.  So if even NASA isn't exactly getting attacked left and right, regular organizations hopefully won't face many (or any) security threats they can't handle.


About the Author:
Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.
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