1998-05-10 - NASA computers to be hacked

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From: Spam the President <president@whitehouse.gov>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
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UTC Datetime: 1998-05-10 00:23:13 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 17:23:13 -0700 (PDT)

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From: Spam the President <president@whitehouse.gov>
Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 17:23:13 -0700 (PDT)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: NASA computers to be hacked
Message-ID: <3554E57C.36AA4BFE@whitehouse.gov>
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              NASA computers to be 'hacked'

              National Security Agency wants to know if space agency's
              computers are secure enough to fend off cyber-intruders

              WASHINGTON, May 9 - Agents from the National Security
              Agency will try to break into NASA's computers to
              whether the space agency can fend off cyber-intruders who
              could threaten launch-control and other critical
operations, the
              trade publication Defense Week reports.

                     THE "PENETRATION STUDY" of the National

                      Aeronautics and Space Administration's
unclassified computer
                      networks is an effort to learn how easily
troublemakers can get
                      to sensitive data and what NASA's doing about it.
                             Teams from the intelligence agency will
soon try to
                      penetrate NASA networks in up to eight states,
said the
                      newsletter in the edition to be published Monday.
                             Last June, NSA "hackers" showed they could
                      Pacific Command battle-management computers and
                      electric power grids.
                      'PENETRATION STUDY'
                             The NASA "penetration study," which will be
run under the
                      auspices of the General Accounting Office, stands
out because
                      it involves a U.S. civilian agency, and such
operations are
                      barred by the 1952 law that created NSA, the
newsletter said. 

                             However, the law barring domestic
activities contains an
                      exception if the spy agency is invited to do the
                             Still, the publication said the planned
test raised questions of
                             John Pike of the Federation of American
Scientists, a
                      veteran observer of both NASA and the intelligence
                      community, told the newsletter that the NASA test
breaks new
                      ground and bears close watching.
                             "This is the next big step in NSA's
expanding role in
                      domestic information security," he said. "It's
certainly the first
                      reported major initiative of this sort with
respect to a
                      non-military agency. While a number of safeguards
are in
                      place, there are concerns about the potential for
abuse of this
                      type of activity."
                             But Charles Redmond, the space agency's
manager of
                      information-technology security, said the test was
"not an
                      invasion of privacy."
                             NASA preferred to have the intelligence
agency do the
                      tests because it wanted to protect security and
proprietary data
                      and to avoid any conflict of interest, Redmond
                             The tests will determine how easy it is to
access sensitive
                      sites and whether they can be accessed through the