NASA blocks Brazil's Web access in security move

NASA blocks Brazil's Web access in security move

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

MARCH 21—NASA officials blocked Brazil's access to its computers last week following what agency officials described as suspicious connection requests.

Security officials at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., first noticed the attacks about March 10, said Frank O'Donnell, a laboratory spokesman. The attacks were coming from different servers within Brazil.

"Normally when an event like this takes place, it is common to put up a network block on that part of the world until technicians resolve the problem, and the system is safe from intrusion," he said.

Computer security officials blocked all the numeric subnets attackers were using to attempt to access the agency's systems, and by the time they were done, all of Brazil had had been denied access, he said.

"They were attempting to exploit a particular vulnerability," McDonnell said. "We have a number of computers connected to the Internet, and the technicians had to make themselves comfortable that that particular vulnerability couldn't be exploited to gain access to any JPL server."

Officials removed the block at 9 a.m. Friday, O'Donnell said.

"Obviously we realize we have some space fans in Brazil and many may have missed getting to the server," he said. "We worked quickly to get the problem resolved."

O'Donnell said he didn't know if the matter is still under investigation.

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