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Hacker uses a nanocomputer to steal NASA data

It wasn’t a good day for NASA when an unidentified cyber-attacker was able to steal 500 MB of mission data, through a Raspberry Pi nanocomputer.

First introduced by the charity Raspberry Pi Foundation in 2012, the Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized device intended for the general public, young and old, beginners and amateurs. It is sold for about $35 that plugs into home televisions and is used mainly to teach coding to children and promote computing in developing countries.

The Raspberry Pi organization has just announced the release of the fourth generation of its budget desktop PC, the completely re-engineered Raspberry Pi 4.

The April 2018 attack went undetected for nearly a year, according to an audit report issued on June 18, and an investigation is still underway to find the culprit.

The hacker infiltrated into NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory network and stole sensitive data and forced the temporary disconnection of space-flight systems, the agency has revealed.

Prior to detection, the attacker was able to exfiltrate 23 files amounting to approximately 500 megabytes of data, the report from NASA’s Office of inspector General said.

These included two restricted files from the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which handles the Curiosity Rover, and information relating to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations which restrict the export of US defense and military technologies.

“More importantly, the attacker successfully accessed two of the three primary JPL networks,” the report said.

"Officials were concerned the cyberattackers could move laterally from the gateway into their mission systems, potentially gaining access and initiating malicious signals to human space flight missions that use those systems."

NASA came to question the integrity of its Deep Space Network data “and temporarily disconnected several space flight-related systems from the JPL network.”
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