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NASA to Encrypt Laptops after Personal Details Got Stolen

NASA plans to implement full disk encryption on laptops after a security breach affected thousands of employees and contractors in the US, according to

The agency staff found out about the data theft at the end of October, when the NASA associate deputy administrator Richard Keegan Jr. warned employees about a stolen device.

“Although the laptop was password protected, it did not have whole disk encryption software, which means the information on the laptop could be accessible to unauthorized individuals,” Keegan told employees. “We are thoroughly assessing and investigating the incident, and taking every possible action to mitigate the risk of harm or inconvenience to affected employees.”

The stolen device contained Personally Identifiable Information” (PII) about several NASA employees, contractors and contacts. Victims will receive free credit and identity theft monitoring as well as insurance in case of identity theft.

Keegan also said it may take up to 60 days for all individuals impacted by the breach to be identified and contacted. The data breach marks the second time this year that a NASA laptop containing unencrypted sensitive information was stolen.

The agency was also exposed after Iranian hackers exploited a SSL certificate vulnerability. By using a HTTPS protocol scanner, cyber-criminals gained control over the certificate, exposing classified information, emails and accounts of thousands of NASA researchers.

A NASA subdomain was also hacked in September by “Gr33nRage”, who allegedly managed to log in to the American Jet Propulsion Laboratory. To keep police away, the attacker swore he didn’t download any sensitive data.

The agency reported the loss or theft of 48 mobile computing devices only between April 2009 and April 2011.

About the author


Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth journalist, who's always on to a cybertrendy story. She's the industry news guru, who'll always keep a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of one, she covers parental control topics, with a view to valiantly cutting a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.

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