A hacker illegally accessed NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2018 by targeting an off-the-shelf micro-computer called a Raspberry Pi.

The breach was apparent in 2018, but just appear to the public in a June 18 report. In it, NASA capacity an “unauthorized” Raspberry Pi that created a portal that accustomed the alien antagonist access to the arrangement for months, until it was ultimately apparent and patched.

For those unfamiliar, a Raspberry Pi is a $35 micro-computer made accepted by any number of school science projects (mostly involving a blinking light) or its casual actualization in hacker movies or TV shows. Its size and price make it an adorable piece of accouterments for the DIY crowd. And though it’s cheap and tiny, there are few limits to what it can do when placed in the right, or wrong, hands.

In this case, the Raspberry Pi wasn’t the culprit, but the victim. A hacker using an alien user annual moved stealthily through NASA’s arrangement for about 10 months, according to a June cybersecurity report from the Office of the Inspector General. While there, he or she searched 23 files, two of which independent advice about the accepted Mars mission. All told, the hacker made off with about 500 megabytes worth of data, according to the report.

The Raspberry Pi was never meant to be affiliated to the network, according to NASA — at least not after prior authorization.

This underlies a bigger issue, that a non-vetted device affiliated to the arrangement of one of our most backstairs organizations, remained there for months, and walked off with half a gigabyte of data before being discovered. Allowing these accessories to affix to the arrangement after being appropriately articular or vetted is a major abortion in terms of operational security.

For system administrators, the men and women tasked with attention these networks and anecdotic threats that could wreak havoc, the lapse isn’t inconsequential. Still, the botheration could have been much worse. In fact, it’s a bit of a kick in the pants alive that NASA’s best cybersecurity efforts were baffled by a $35 device anyone could acquirement on Amazon.

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