WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — NASA’s inspector general revealed in congressional testimony that a space agency computer was stolen last year with the command codes to control the International Space Station.

In a statement given to a House committee on the security challenges facing NASA, Paul K. Martin said that an unencrypted NASA computer stolen last year was one of 48 taken between April 2009 and April 2011.

“The March 2011 theft of an unencrypted NASA notebook computer resulted in the loss of algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station,” Martin said in his written testimony. “Other lost or stolen notebooks contained Social Security numbers and sensitive data on NASA’s Constellation and Orion programs.”


In 2010 and 2011, there were 5,408 computer security incidents at the space agency costing NASA an estimated $7 million.

“These incidents spanned a wide continuum from individuals testing their skill to break into NASA systems, to well-organized criminal enterprises hacking for profit, to intrusions that may have been sponsored by foreign intelligence services seeking to further their countries’ objectives,” Martin said.

Last year, NASA was the victim of 47 cyberattacks, with 13 of those attacks successfully compromising the agency’s computers. In one of those attacks, credentials for more than 150 employees were stolen.

Another attack involved Chinese-based IP addresses that gained full access to systems and sensitive user accounts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The Office of Management and Budget reported that only 1 percent of NASA’s portable devices and laptops have been encrypted this year.

“Until NASA fully implements an Agency-wide data encryption solution, sensitive data on its mobile computing and portable data storage devices will remain at high risk for loss or theft,” Martin explained in his testimony.

Comments (117)
  1. Joe Loiacono says:

    So how’s HUD doing?

  2. Spock says:

    That’s how Kirk was able to kill Kahn.

    1. Sarek says:

      Accurate analagy

      1. Bones says:

        That’s how he was able to escape Kahn. The nebulous and experience in 3d fighting is how he killed him.

      2. zombierocket says:

        Sarek – learn to spell.

    2. Captain Kirk says:

      Good Times, good times.

  3. SomeDude68 says:

    Khan KHAN KHAN!!!

    What ANOTHER embarrassment!

    There is a word in the military to describe our political leaders and the state of America… CLUSTERFU@K

    1. neldogz says:

      Really? So someone steals and then its an embarrassment to our political leaders and the US? Oh I get it, they should of had more security, they should of been able to track the assets. But to take that and then describe your political leaders and own country in such a negative manner, you sir should be embarrassed. This is the greatest country on earth and these things happen. Stop trolling.

  4. SomeDude68 says:

    We’re doomed.

    1. bill granberry says:

      America, has been gone for years, both the Republicans and Democrats are plotting against this once great country….thay are EVIL

  5. liddymeme says:

    The Chinese have it.

    1. No Longer Confused says:

      Probably and the “loss” was more than likely intentional.

    2. Ben Dover says:

      The Chinese can keep it and they can take over the funding of the ISS

    3. FUBO says:

      The Chinese don’t steal anything. Øbowmao just gives it to them.

      1. MarcusOHreallyUS says:

        Yeah, he learned it from Bill and Hillary.

      2. Jeter says:

        Chinese, Russians even Israelis.

    4. Deskboy says:

      You know they do. The ‘theft’ was a cover. NASA’s Islamists gave it to them

      1. Stormcrow53 says:

        Hansen gave it to them, I’d wager.

  6. Titainiumman says:

    The only presidents to lose command nuclear codes were Kennedy and Clinton,now under Obama we have a new category command codes for spacestation

    1. zombierocket says:

      No, under Obama we have a new category: EVERYTHING.

  7. bob says:

    satellites? I thought that according to obumbler NASA’s objective was to kiss muslim behind ?

  8. Steve says:

    Who has worst IT then NASA???? only 5,408 incidents in 1 year?????????

  9. DudewithNasaLaptop says:

    Oh, that’s what it does! I thought it was some Google earth thing. Could you NASA dudes send up a crate of Uzis to the ISS? I wanna do a drive by on Iran. With a space station.

  10. cb says:

    It was probably stolen by the TSA baggage handlers. friggin knuckle draggin theives.

  11. JD says:

    That’s a lot of Kobayashi Maru incidents in 1 year…

    1. Mark Matis says:

      They come under the “leadership” of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, an incompetent doing his best to make former Administrator Dan Goldin look good in comparison.

  12. Pencil says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. How does this happen? I’m sick. Hey China, I hope you accidentally plunge an unoccupied space station right down on your communist leaders’ HQ.

  13. mer says:

    now the chinese have control of the space station.

  14. John_B says:

    Speechless. I guess that is one way to convince the public to abandon the entire NASA program, make it as incompetent as the leaders in Washington.

  15. Jay says:

    Just like the Russias did to steal nuclear technology , America is losing its technology to foreign goverments on a mass scale . No longer is America the leader in ingenuity countries like China are stealing information from every sector of the US goverment . They have intrenched themselves so much in the American infrastructure it would literally be impossible to rid them completely . Americans needs to start rethinking how they handle their secrets .and how much the International Corporations share amongst their “business associates” /

  16. F'd over (again) taxpayer says:

    Probably stolen while drinking coffee at the local Starbuck’s and chatting online with it.

  17. GarySco says:

    Call T.S.A. over to grab everyone’s balls and make them be safe and secure. Wasn’t it last year that the FBI and Social Security Admin had similar problems with sensitive information on “stolen” laptops?

  18. billybeer says:

    Thank GOD it wasn’t the codes and operating instructions for NASA’s Muslim Outreach program! That could really be important……

  19. johnrokkit says:

    Everybody into the pool…what’s the use of complaining about contraception in congress and what does it say when some kid found it in the trash, like Matthew Broderick in War Games. More good news after any number of incremental fails.

  20. Little_Johnny says:

    Don’t worry, you’re medical records are safe with the government.

  21. JustAGuy says:

    This is the sort of thing that happens when NASA changes it’s highest priority from space exploration to helping Muslims feel good about themselves.

  22. jack coyote says:

    Apparently it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to take proper security measures.

  23. lcs says:

    As soon as I find the accelerator I’m gonna stomp that sucker to the floor and head for Mars.

  24. danno says:

    ..and the TSA gropes us just to fly on an effing plane.

  25. kathy says:

    Maybe their employees should keep their laptop in a Lock-A-Bye. It’s a bag with a patented dual locking mechanism with a cable lined strap and it’s slash resistant!

  26. TMA1 says:

    The computers were NOT stolen the Communist in the White House, just like the Communist Clinton before him, gave the computers to Americas enemies.

  27. David Kramer says:

    Soooo, how is that whole Muslim outreach going at NASA?

  28. Howard Feinski says:

    Does this mean the finder can get into the space station bank accounts?

  29. KRClem says:

    So what…We can’t get there on our own anymore…let the damn thing crash…

  30. jaquebauer says:


    NASA, the US Space Agency has announced the new mission directives for the agency for years 2013 and beyond. Developed by a Team consisting of president Obama and himself, NASA will relocate its headquarters to Kabul, Afghanistan and operate under the new leadership of forner Afgan Presidnet Karzai, now NASA Administrator. US President Obama stated that the Space program must be assimilated into Islamic society to insure Islam becomes an interplanetary rule, from planet earth to the far reaches of interstellar dust. Afghanistan is a nation of poor and uneducated people said Obama and so it will be necessary that existing NASA employees follow the move to Kabul, as mandatory forced employment for those few employees do not embrace the change. Vacated NASA facilities in the US will be sold with the profits used to fund Taliban warfighting operations above the 49 th parallel in North Amerika.
    Space station operations will cease on Dec 3-2012, whereupon all ground support activities will cease and Space Station occupants will be forced to expire as life safety supplies, such as oxygen run out. The occupants will become the first Cosmic Martyrs in the name of Obama.

  31. Neil Baker says:

    It doesn’t matter.
    It’s just part of the ISS hoax narrative that combined with ISS hoax video and ISS hoax photographs represents a trillion dollar ISS hoax.
    The ISS is an unmanned lighted orbiting prop.
    Know the ISS is a hoax because the spacesuits are a hoax.
    Know the spacesuits are a hoax because in their near fifty years of alleged use, not a single spacesuit or its never before seen nickel porous plate ice sublimator cooling system has ever been publicly demonstrated in a NASA walk-in vacuum chamber.
    Despite nickel porous plate ice sublimators representing one of the most unique mechanical engineering devices ever concocted, not a single thermodynamics or heat transfer book mentions them.
    Not a single photograph exists of a ice sublimator cooling system.
    The good news is that we can PROVE the hoax today on EARTH. We don’t have to go into orbit or to the moon.
    Please demand the spacesuit demonstration that will finally liberate us from the very expensive and very boring NASA hoax.

    1. Ed Fendell says:

      Neil, your post is a hoax, and so are you. I can prove you don’t exist.

      1. The Bruce says:


        You’re obviously off of your meds again. Let me guess, you’re a nutter that also believes in the following conspiracy theories?

        9/11 Truther
        Moon Landing Conspiracy
        GMO soft-kills
        Bilderberg nutter

        Let me take another guess. You spent entirely too much time at Info Wars and Prison Planet, right?

        Place your tinfoil hat in the microwave (preferably with your head in it) and hit start.

      2. The Bruce says:

        Sorry, Ed. The below post was directed at Neil. Not sure why it posted under you. Forum bug?

    2. Neil Baker says:

      Part of the reason for Scientific Method founder Francis Bacon’s formalizing the Scientific Method was because he understood that the human mind was designed to deceive itself.

      I think it worth noting that Giovanni Bruno was burned at the stake a little more than only 400 years ago.
      The same thing would have happened to Galileo if he hadn’t recanted.
      Ignaz Semmelweis was beaten to death by asylum guards.
      Ken Saro Wiwa was hung in 1994 for daring to promote an unpopular truth.

      I have proposed an experiment.
      And it’s an extremely simple experiment.
      It is opposed because very many humans will scratch, claw and fight to protect their precious delusions.

      We’re not nearly as advanced as many would like to think we are.
      Shame on you Bruce. Shame on you Ed.

      1. Rick S. says:

        So when Armstrong climbed into the Apollo rocket and thousands of people right there at the cape watched him blast off into space, where do you think he *really* went? Disney?

        What a knucklehead… You’re right about 1 thing though. Your mind IS designed to decieve you. And it’s doing a great job too!!

    3. Alan Delaney says:

      This is worth checking out, even if it’s just to learn how a nickel porous ice sublimator cooling system works. As for the spacesuits being fakes, and all that implies, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the charge. Not when it’s NASA.

  32. Buck O'Fama says:

    God but you are useless mindless idiots. You have less overarching concern for security and caring for your belongings than a five year old child. It’s time this government was dismantled and rebuilt, you idiots are a Chinese spies dream job.

    1. Rick S. says:

      While I don’t necessarily disagree with your statement, I think the real answer here is, it doesn’t matter. The Russians co-own the space station. So they already have all the codes. And that means the Chinese have all the codes. So who cares?

      The bigger issue is with the Chinese having all of the codes for our satellites! Our military capabilities can be destroyed wholesale if the Chinese shut down our GPS satellites, our spy satellites, our communications satellites, etc. I would be much MUCH more worried about those codes than I would the ISS codes.

  33. billnorris says:

    stolen? I think not. More than likely carelessly left someplace. A taxi, a Burger King a StarBucks, maybe a Applebees.

  34. Steve says:

    The laptop would not mean that the person could command the space station. Doesn’t work that way! Bit of over-sensationalism…oops, forgot this is the brilliant press!

    P.S. I worked in the Mission Control Center and know how the command and control systems work.

    1. Gummint Idjut says:

      P.S. I am a stow-away currently inhabiting the space station and I would appreciate you turning down the thermostat 2.4 degrees, please.

      1. Steve says:

        Another insect in space!

  35. john says:


  36. Troy says:

    Just ask the Chinese, and the Russians to return it !

  37. Fuzzy says:

    Apparently the writer never got the memo. When Bill Clinton was President, the government agreed that in order to guarantee the survivability of our most sensitive data, it was necessary to find a remote off-site backup location. The location chosen was Beijing. We’ve been storing our military and NASA’s secrets there ever since.

  38. kevin retcho says:

    Wow finally after a year this comes out. Now I bet he still has his job pension etc or did he sell it to the highest Chinese bidder.. Oops did I Say Chinese..

  39. The Bruce says:

    In reality, I’m sure the computers were donated; you know, as part of NASA’s new mandate as a Muslim Outreach agency?

  40. William Wilson says:

    It’s George Bush’s fault.

  41. Clifford Cahill says:

    It’s the ‘ Dog ate my homework’ administration. Stinks, smells and sounds as a set up for when this piece of junk comes crashing back to Earth.


  42. george bush says:

    Just look on ebay,
    NASA space station for sale,cost Russia and US 50 billion its yours now for $5.oo plus $2.00 shipping..

  43. James "genius" Milber says:

    I would say I have a genius solution to solve this debacle.


  44. Eric says:

    48 Stolen laptops? Who’s running security, Sesame Street?

  45. Ben says:

    Everyone wants to have own laptop paid by the taxpayer. Let them have government desktops in the office and private laptops at home with no file transfer allowed. The job is not so urgent to carry the laptops around. If they visit other NASA office, have the visitors desktops there.

  46. CWest017 says:

    This is the silliest thing I’ve heard in awhile.

  47. Dr Bjerkebek says:

    Open the pod bay doors HAL,
    Open the pod bay doors.

  48. Myke says:

    Well, Obama did promise “transparency.”
    Glad he’s trying to keep his promises.

  49. chesterfield says:

    Thats okay barry cut the program so were not going back any time soon.

  50. nobama says:

    Queue the James Bond theme music!

  51. victoria says:

    Oh you mean to say a lap top with Space Station codes was SOLD. That sounds more believable.

  52. Spike says:

    It’s just Muslim outreach. Obama giving them laptops.

  53. Jubal says:

    Well, with the IP addresses, one has GPS coordinates. How about dropping a dead bird from orbit ‘accidentally’ ?

  54. Jubal says:

    Vote Democrat. Keep ’em on the plantation.

  55. Vulcanmom says:

    Sounds like Wolowitz was involved.

  56. Docpsycho says:

    Why the bleep is that information on a portable system in the first place?!

  57. janet says:

    ha ha! they should send that piece of junk into the atmosphere right over the US at night.

    1. zombierocket says:

      With you in it.

  58. zombierocket says:

    I dare you… go ahead… try to explain to me how NASA loses (or has stolen) a laptop with all the Space Station Control Codes in it. How?

    Has America become this sloppy, this stupid, this arrogant, this careless? Yes. It has. Idiots all the way down…

    1. dunce says:

      Who believes anyone was fired for putting this kind of information on a lap top, leaving a secure facility with it, and losing the laptop?

  59. Noah Vaile says:

    These are basically the same idiots who want to take all our medical records and digitalize them for our privacy. Right? These aren’t exactly atomic scientists. Are they? Oh?? They are?

  60. dog says:

    We should have a new government agency and a congressional steering committee to oversee these problems.

    No but seriously, the government is hopelessly incompetent and I hope you aren’t dumb enough to rely on them for retirement, since it won’t even last halfway through the baby boomer years

  61. Soren says:

    Is this a ploy to go to war? Because stealing our secret password to our treehouse in the sky is highly irrelevant.

  62. ragu4u says:

    The things we don’t know WILL hurt us.

  63. J.V. says:

    In other words, U.S. foreign aid continues to flow to China.

  64. Evil Warlord says:

    who cares about the americans and their stupid space junk?

  65. David Watson says:

    I don’t understand why high security computers like this don’t have built in data destruct capabilities that can be remotely activated if the computer is stolen or missing.

  66. Jason says:

    I promise I won’t activate any airlocks with it. But I might turn the lights out.

  67. Calonzap says:

    What kind of people are being entrusted with something as important as a computer containing codes to control the space station? Total brain-dead idiots? Every single person connected with/responsible for that operation should be summarily fired and never allowed to work for our government again. Anyone who would allow that to happen is obviously too da*n stupid to hold a position of responsibility.

  68. 1buddy1 says:

    Probably left by some senior level bureaucrat in the foyer at a brothel. Lunch time. Bureaucrats have needs…

  69. AZWarrior says:

    Oh man … after reading this I flashed on Mathew Broderick hacking into the mainframe to play Global Thermonuclear War. Somewhere there is a 13 year old with and old Atari joystick punching in codes to play Space Station vs. Communication Satellite!

  70. SHRKB8 says:

    Why exactly is NASA connected to the internet where the attacks come from? They should have a sensitive network without access to the outside world and an external network specifically for communication with outside resources and the two networks should not be connected. Poof, all their internal security issues solved

    And really, how hard is it to encrypt a laptop — every laptop ought to be encrypted whether it has sensitive data or not…

  71. Ranger01 says:

    This is why the Goernment at high levels need their own unique operating system with encrytpion.

  72. Ranger01 says:

    Who ever runs the I.T. department should be investigated on the slack security practices. of NASA.

  73. Guest says:

    Howard Wolowitz strikes again!

  74. man says:

    That is why you have backups and bitlocker

  75. matt says:

    yawn!! more establishment propaganda as they attempt to push tighter, more china like internet controls. They couldn’t get it past the american people with SOPA and PIPA so now they’ve moved onto the UN…im sure this story will be used as fuel for that fire

  76. FredK says:

    I don’t understand why ALL government laptops are not encrypted. I work for a Health Insurance company and all company laptops are encrypted; you need a FOB which will select a random pass code to match to a security file with the company firewall. Additionally, I must enter a 4 digit number as a personal pin. If this string and pin can not be verified from my personal security fiile, I can’t even boot the laptop, and the hard drive is encrypted not the PC; so taking the hard drive and putting it into another PC won’t work either. We only talking hundreds of dollars for complete security.

  77. robert g says:

    How much do you want to bet that the admin password is admin?

  78. Rightthink says:

    Didn’t Clinton lose a laptop with all our nuclear secrets to the chinese, now another mind boggling security blow to our country. Is there anyone but immigrants protecting our secrets. You have got to be kidding!!! No one says anything is this not an act of WAR. Cease and desist your hacking or the drone army will…. Oh yeah, Obama just let the Iranians keep one of those to backward engineer too. WOW People get ready for the consequences of voting for a Traitor.

  79. Don Myrick says:

    Never mind that; haven’t they made the Arabs feel good about their cultural achievements, and isn’t that NASA’s primary mission?

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