The NASA garage sale

Companies selling off their old computers and IT hardware in general is nothing new and is something you see happening quite often.  It’s for many the ideal opportunity to purchase a “still OK, but not brand-new” PC to play around with, experiment with some different OS or give as a PC to a relative who needs a cheap PC to surf the web and type some letters.

Things get a little more interesting when it’s a high-profile, government organization, say NASA, that is organizing the garage sale, especially when it turns out that the PCs they’re selling are not properly sanitized of sensitive data!

In a recent statement, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin said: “Our review found serious breaches in NASA’s IT security practices that could lead to the improper release of sensitive information related to the Space Shuttle and other NASA programs”.

In effect, it turned out that computers from the Kennedy Space Center still had hard drives on which data was not properly erased and some even still had the NASA Internet Protocol addresses, which of course could help hackers gain access to the NASA internal computer network.

After WikiLeaks, we’ll have NASALeaks =)

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