This isn’t going to improve NASA’s FISMA scorecard rating for 2018.
On Tuesday, December 18, 2018. Bob Gibbs, Assistant Administrator, Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer sent an agency-wide message to the 17,000+ NASA employees, according to SpaceRef which posted the memo on their site.
On Oct. 23, 2018, NASA cybersecurity personnel began investigating a possible compromise of NASA servers where personally identifiable information (PII) was stored. After initial analysis, NASA determined that information from one of the servers containing Social Security numbers and other PII data of current and former NASA employees may have been compromised.
Upon discovery of the incidents, NASA cybersecurity personnel took immediate action to secure the servers and the data contained within. NASA and its Federal cybersecurity partners are continuing to examine the servers to determine the scope of the potential data exfiltration and identify potentially affected individuals. This process will take time. The ongoing investigation is a top agency priority, with senior leadership actively involved. NASA does not believe that any Agency missions were jeopardized by the cyber incidents.
NASA Civil Service employees who were on-boarded, separated from the agency, and/or transferred between Centers, from July 2006 to October 2018, may have been affected.
NASA employees should be counting their lucky stars that this doesn’t happen more often, In 2016 NASA’s Office of Inspector General found that NASA lacks a mature cyber program, earning a score of 27 out of 100 under the Office of Management and Budget’s and DHS’ five-step maturity model.
In the 2017 Federal Information Security Modernization Act: Fiscal Year 2017 Evaluation of NASA came to the conclusion that…
Despite progress made to address previously identified weaknesses related to its cybersecurity program, we concluded that NASA, based on the results of our current review, has not implemented an effective information technology security program. Further, without implementing additional improvements to ensure that NIST requirements are implemented, the Agency may lose ground in its efforts to address the challenges in a rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape. To strengthen its information security program, we believe the Agency should continue its initiatives in each of the seven IG FISMA domains.
- Risk Management. Strengthen the enterprise architecture risk management framework by closing the gap between mission systems and inventory, and complete the transition to RISCS.
- Configuration Management. Augment secure configuration settings, improve hardware and software asset management, and remediate configuration-related vulnerabilities including unsupported operating systems.
- Identity and Access Management. Increase the use of PIV authentication for unprivileged users.
- Security Training. Complete applicable role-based training for personnel with significant security responsibilities.
- Continuous Monitoring. Develop a comprehensive continuous monitoring strategy for automatic hardware and software inventory detection and data exfiltration defense capabilities.
- Incident Response. Bridge the gap between reactive and proactive intelligence gathering and analysis techniques.
- Contingency Planning.
Finally, we are concerned that many recommended corrective actions from prior FISMA and other IT-related reviews remain open after more than a year. We urge a renewed Agency commitment to addressing our previous recommendations given the constant and growing cybersecurity threats. Although this memorandum made no specific recommendations to NASA, management provided a brief response that is reproduced in Enclosure V. Technical comments provided by management have been incorporated, as appropriate.
Sadly, Its easier to blame this all on aliens.