Apparent cyberattacks force NASA to remove ALL its public data
- Besides the Bruce Schneier Crypto-Gram newsletter and others I receive
one is from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS):
Today's FAS "Secrecy" newsletter was quite unnerving and my guess
is the NASA databases were under massive cyberattack. This is why
I download and save a LOT of material on my own systems as is being
suggested at the last line of this article.
Following is an except from today's FAS newsletter:
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2013, Issue No. 31
March 21, 2013
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
NASA TECHNICAL REPORTS DATABASE GOES DARK
This week NASA abruptly took the massive NASA Technical Reports Server
(NTRS) offline. Though no explanation for the removal was offered, it
appeared to be in response to concerns that export controlled information
was contained in the collection.
"Until further notice, the NTRS system will be unavailable for public
access. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and
anticipate that this site will return to service in the near future," the
NTRS homepage now states.
NASA Public Affairs did not respond yesterday to an inquiry about the
status of the site, the reason for its suspension, or the timeline for its
NASA Watch linked the move to a statement from Rep. Frank Wolf on Monday
concerning alleged security violations at NASA Langley Research Center.
"NASA should immediately take down all publicly available technical data
sources until all documents that have not been subjected to export control
review have received such a review and all controlled documents are removed
from the system," Rep. Wolf said.
In other words, all NASA technical documents, no matter how voluminous and
valuable they are, should cease to be publicly available in order to
prevent the continued disclosure of any restricted documents, no matter how
limited or insignificant they may be.
"There is a HUGE amount of material on NTRS," said space policy analyst
Dwayne Day. "If NASA is forced to review it all, it will never go back
Essentially, the mindset represented by Rep. Wolf and embraced by NASA
fears the consequences of unauthorized disclosure more than it values the
benefits of openness. It is a familiar outlook that has wreaked havoc with
the nation's historical declassification program, and has periodically
disrupted routine access to record collections at the National Archives, as
well as online collections at the CIA, the Los Alamos technical report
library, and elsewhere.
"I'd also note that a large amount of historical Mercury/Gemini/Apollo
documents that were previously available at NARA Fort Worth is now
apparently withdrawn due to ITAR [export controls]," said Dr. Day.
The upshot is that the government is not an altogether reliable repository
of official records. Members of the public who depend on access to such
records should endeavor to make and preserve their own copies whenever