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Last year, an unencrypted laptop was stolen from NASA, containing command and control codes for the International Space State. The incident illustrates how one unprotected device can pose a serious threat to data security. Thus, companies should invest in IT training to ensure employees are educated on security best practices.The Inspector General of NASA told the House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee the computer stolen in March 2011 contained algorithms used to control the space station, and was one of 48 NASA notebooks or mobile devices stolen between April 2009 and April 2011. Sensitive data and third-party intellectual property were leaked as a result of the thefts, as well as Social Security numbers and data regarding a variety of NASA programs.The inspector general said the lack of data encryption was found throughout all of NASA, and he blamed it on an IT chain of command, with the CIO having limited ability to implement IT security programs agency-wide. Until the patches are made to the existing network at NASA, all data and information is vulnerable to attack.In response to the security breach, Linda Cureton, NASA chief information officer, spoke with the House subcommittee to discuss the NASA 2011 Strategic Plan that was designed to identify the agency's IT goals and strategic objectives for the future. The plan called for an enhancement and strengthening of the IT security and cybersecurity policy. As NASA's data remains vulnerable, Cureton recommends the agency conducts audits on all IT data and infrastructure as a security measure.
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