Its scary that in April 2005 NASA was hacked and still no one is really sure exactly who did the hacking. If they do know, they are not saying. The usual suspects include Russia and China but no formal accusations have been made.
Apparently NASA’s computers are a weak link in the DoD information chain. According to BusinessWeek online:
America’s military and scientific institutions—along with the defense industry that serves them—are being robbed of secret information on satellites, rocket engines, launch systems, and even the Space Shuttle. The thieves operate via the Internet from Asia and Europe, penetrating U.S. computer networks. Some of the intruders are suspected of having ties to the governments of China and Russia, interviews and documents show. Of all the arms of the U.S. government, few are more vulnerable than NASA, the civilian space agency, which also works closely with the Pentagon and American intelligence services.
For about 10 years now NASA has been aware of these intrusions and have not been able to stop them, and its costing actual dollars in terms of hardware, not just data and research. Another quote from this BusinessWeek online article says:
In 1998 a U.S.-German satellite known as ROSAT, used for peering into deep space, was rendered useless after it turned suddenly toward the sun. NASA investigators later determined that the accident was linked to a cyber-intrusion at the Goddard Space Flight Center in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. The interloper sent information to computers in Moscow, NASA documents show. U.S. investigators fear the data ended up in the hands of a Russian spy agency.
So in other words there was a hack incident where a satellite was turned toward our Sun and for all intents and purposes turned into a pile of orbiting junk. You would think in the 10+ years NASA would have secured funding for new software, hardware and manpower to protects its (and our) interests. Undoubtedly something has been done, but as this article seems to indicate, NASA is still a target being successfully penetrated by foreign interests.