back to article Houston, we've had a problem: NASA fears internal server hacked, staff personal info swiped by miscreants

A server containing personal information, including social security numbers, of current and former NASA workers may have been hacked, and its data stolen, it emerged today. According to an internal memo circulated among staff on Tuesday, in mid-October the US space agency investigated whether or not two of its machines holding …

  1. notowenwilson

    Apollo 13

    Thankyou for getting the quote right in the headline

    1. Scott Broukell

      Re: Apollo 13

      I suppose you were going to stir things up if they hadn't got the quote right.

      <I'll get my own space suit, thank you>

    2. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: Apollo 13

      Wrong or right, no point cryo-ing about it.

  2. corestore


    Back in the late 2000s, I bought an SGI Onyx workstation on eBay. The previous owner had bought it at government auction but didn't want it so moved in on. My gain. Nice upgrade from my previous Crimson.

    I had to research some pretty obscure hackery to bypass the BIOS password, which enabled me to boot single user and hack root. And what did I find? A NASA machine; from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Washington DC. And they hadn't wiped it! Judging from what I found, its graphics had been outclassed by newer machines, but they repurposed it as a server; it was full of Oracle databases, personnel stuff, and a bunch of internal websites etc. Fascinating stuff! Pic for any doubters:

    Astonished they let that out without wiping it first!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Hah!

      This happens all the time - the user gets a shiny new machine, copies all the files over and puts the old one in the cupboard - just in case something goes wrong or they missed a file somewhere. The shiny new machine works great and a couple of years later they notice the old machine in the cupboard ... better get rid of that, oh wait - there's a property tag on it, better call Central Services (sic) and get it taken off the inventory. And away it goes ...

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hah!

      I, too have hacked an SGI (Indigo) to get root. In my case, I did not have to use the NVRAM password, (though I did have to replace the NVRAM battery!) the previious sysadmin had left the "demo/demo" and "guest/guest" users active, and I was able to read /etc/passwd. John The Ripper to the rescue, and a cup of coffee later, I had the root password (because this is "old" Unix!).

      Next surprise was that SGI's Unix, unlike all others, does not include cc -- you have to buy it! Working on that...

      1. corestore

        Re: Hah!

        I found someone had made a webpage of my original usenet post documenting the procedure for posterity! -

        How to clear the NVRAM password on an Onyx/Challenge

        By Michael Ross and Chris Patterson (MCE)

        1. Enter POD mode using the debug options as documented my Ian Mapleson at:

        Note that the POD prompt will only appear on a terminal connected to the console (tty1) port - the GFX display will remain blank.

        2. At the POD prompt, type 'zap'.

        The PROM password is now clear, you can type 'io' to start the PROM monitor, from where you can now access the command monitor, install software, etc. etc., without a password.

        3. Don't forget to disable POD mode again before rebooting!

        'zap' is documented in the POD prompt help screen (type '?' for a list of POD commands), but the description is something very innocuous, like 'reinitialise environment', and gives no clue to the fact that it blows the PROM password away!

        NOTE: 'zap' also blows away your entire configuration. So when you go into the PROM monitor, console is set to tty1 not GFX, your boot/root/OS devices may well be wrong - my setup was defaulting to boot dksc(0,....) when the disks were all on dksc(1,...) etc. etc.

        So be sure to review and fully understand your configuration BEFORE using 'zap', if at all possible (I know, it's kinda hard since you're locked out of the command monitor).

        Thanks to all who helped!


    3. GX5000
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Hah!


  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Space Command and all branches of the military.

    Looks like we'll have both Space Marines and maybe a Space Navy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Space Command and all branches of the military.

      Being American it will be testosterone driven, gun-gho to expand Team America world police to solar system police. It will sorely fail to reflect that 99% of anything Space related is run from a keyboard nowdays. They are also very late to this game.

      As a basis for comparison: - at 12:10, after the marines. The first block are logistics and the IT girls (wipe that saliva off the keyboard), second is military space academy which feeds Space command. Those cute manicured fingers are above the keyboards that control the adversary's Space toys including ICBMs, stationary radards, missile defence - the lot. Already. They have done so for decades too (I know personally a retired one which has served in the late 60-es).

      I can probably pull a pic of the Chinese counterpart too and it is likely to be the same. Pity Mandarin is not one of the languages I know.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Space Command and all branches of the military.

        "Being American it will be testosterone driven, gun-gho to expand Team America world police to solar system police."

        Can we convince them that the sun is about to be eaten by a space dragon and they all need to get on board this Ark we've constructed?

    2. John G Imrie
      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: It's time for

        Funny, but sadly it's not just the Republicans doing that, the Democrats aren't much better and the Russians, Saudis, Chinese etc are far worse. It's Christmas so I'll offer a funny reply link - they all just need to F.O.C.U.S.

    3. AIBailey Silver badge

      Re: Space Command and all branches of the military.

      You missed out a Space Air Force.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Space Command and all branches of the military.

        You missed out a Space Air Force.

        No need - it's space, so it's a vacuum ain't it??? Can't have an air force without air!

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge

    all that alien schtuff...

    maybe the leaked info will make it to wikileaks? THE EVIDENCE of the CONSPIRACY to HIDE THE EXISTENCE of EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE will FINALLY be REVEALED!!!

    or not...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: all that alien schtuff...

      Did Bob's developer mix up which script to invoke? This reads like it was generated by aManFromMars1, not the trumptastic libertarian post generator...

  5. Alister Silver badge

    Bah! to your piffling Space Command, let's get the Galactic Patrol up and running, now!

  6. NanoMeter

    Trump's Space Force

    Is going to be a Space Farce. Pretty sure Seth MacFarlane will make a TV show out of it.

    1. asdf

      Re: Trump's Space Force

      Only the best people, the best Space Force you can put up there with the Russian's help of course.

  7. DropBear Silver badge

    We're onto you...

    Hah! Secretly, Marc Zicree must surely be behind all this...!

  8. Gnoitall

    Deeply Ironic "News"

    United States Space Command already existed, from 1995 to 2002.

    It was stood down because it was redundant. The mission itself was being accomplished by other commands and agencies, including US Strategic Command. Which inherited the space mission after USSPACE was disestablished.

    This isn't even a proper half-measure to a "Space Force." This is just a feeble excuse to bump up the number of general officer billets.

  9. Andy Non Silver badge

    Upon being interviewed, the hacker said

    "Getting in wasn't rocket science"

  10. cd

    Can't we jut show Trump some old Thunderbirds episodes? Probably where he got the idea so it'll look just right.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trump isn't a giant

    He's an Ochre

    (See what I did there?)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020