NASA has identified more than 6000 different cyberattacks over the past four years, according to a recent report from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The document states that NASA has institutional systems that are used for the day-to-day work of employees (this includes data centers, web services, computers and networks).
NASA also has separate mission systems associated with scientific programs in the field of aeronautics, space exploration, and so on (such systems are used to control spacecraft and process scientific data).
In total, NASA owns more than 4,400 applications, more than 15,000 mobile devices, about 13,000 software licenses, about 50,000 computers and a whopping 39,000 TB of data.
The cyberattacks detected in recent years (more than 1,700 incidents were identified in 2020) were very different: brute force, email attacks, identity tampering attacks, equipment loss and theft, various web attacks and incidents involving external or removable media.
For example, in 2020, most incidents were associated with misuse, including the installation of unauthorized software or access to inappropriate materials. The number of incidents of this kind increased from 249 in 2017 to 1103 in 2020.
The report provides information on several specific incidents, including the hacking of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2018, which resulted in hackers gaining access to the servers and telescopes of the Deep Space Network.
In the same year, unidentified persons stole about 500 MB of data from an unnamed mission system, compromising an external user account for this. In addition, in 2019, NASA discovered that a contractor was using its resources to mine cryptocurrency, and two Chinese citizens were charged with hacking NASA systems and stealing data.
Let me remind you that I also said that NASA staff faces exponential increase in number of hacker attacks.