[ISN] GAO unearths computer security weaknesses at NASA

From: cult hero (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri May 21 1999 - 00:00:53 PDT

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    Forwarded From: William Knowles <erehwonat_private>
    GAO unearths computer security weaknesses at NASA
    (Federal Computer Week) [5.20.99] Many of NASA's mission-critical
    information systems are vulnerable to attack, and almost all the systems
    do not meet the agency's own requirements for risk assessment, according
    to a General Accounting Office report released today.
    In tests conducted by GAO at one of NASA's field centers, experts were
    able to penetrate several mission-critical systems, including one
    responsible for calculating the positioning data for spacecraft.
    "Having obtained access to these systems, we could have disrupted NASA's
    ongoing command and control operations and stolen, modified or destroyed
    system software and data," the report states.
    GAO attributed much of the success of the attacks to NASA's lack of
    consistent information security management and policies as suggested by
    GAO's 1998 Executive Guide.  And although NASA performed a special review
    of its information security program last May that found many of the same
    problems identified by GAO, few of the recommended fixes have been
    started, according to the report.
    GAO recommended that NASA put in place an agencywide security program
    addressing five areas: assessing risks and evaluating needs;  implementing
    policies and controls;  monitoring compliance with policy and
    effectiveness of controls; providing computer security training;  and
    coordinating responses to security incidents. 
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