WASHINGTON — NASA's inspector general warned Monday that computer servers used by the US space agency to control spacecraft were vulnerable to cyber attack through the Internet.
"We found that computer servers on NASA's agency-wide mission network had high-risk vulnerabilities that were exploitable from the Internet," NASA inspector general Paul Martin said in an audit of NASA's network security.
"Specifically, six computer servers associated with IT assets that control spacecraft and contain critical data had vulnerabilities that would allow a remote attacker to take control of or render them unavailable," the report said.
It said a cyber attacker who managed to penetrate the network could use compromised computers to exploit other weaknesses and "severely degrade or cripple NASA's operations."
The inspector general's audit of NASA's computer security found "network servers that revealed encryption keys, encrypted passwords, and user account information to potential attackers.
"These data are sensitive and provide attackers additional ways to gain unauthorized access to NASA networks," the report said.