NASA employee data exposed for at least three weeks due to misconfigured web app

Names and email addresses accidentally made public in the second major security scare in as many months

Space walk

A misconfigured app exposed NASA employees' personal details including their names and email address, as well as details about ongoing projects within the space agency.

Incorrectly-set permissions within Jira, a piece of web-based software used by organisations to monitor workflow and internal issues, exposed a bulk of internal data for at least three weeks last year, according to security researcher Avinash Jain.

These details could have been accessed by anybody over the internet with just the right URL over at-least a three week period and could have aided an attacker in gaining access to the wider application.

Jain claimed a system administrator may have misunderstood the definition of "all users" and "everyone" when assigning permissions to newly-created dashboards within the app, interpreting these terms to mean everyone within the organisation.

Due to these misconfigured global permissions scheme, the data exposed extended to all NASA employees' names and email addresses, their roles as assigned to projects listed on Jira, as well as current NASA projects and upcoming milestones.

Alongside an issue that allowed members of the public to browse a full list of employees, a separate filter misconfiguration exposed how projects and tasks are categorised within NASA, and who oversees them.

"This will likely not be a complete list of users like the browse users function, but can glean useful information about how usernames are formatted," Jain wrote in his report.

"Additionally, it can give an attacker an idea of what kind of information may be housed within the application and what projects team is working upon along with showing features of different projects."

Jain reported the bug to the NASA Security Operations Centre (SOC) and the US-Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) on 3 September 2018 and received word the issue had been resolved three weeks later on 25 September.

He then informed both agencies of his intention to disclose the incident publicly a few weeks later on 9 November.

This is the second major security scare NASA has sustained in recent months after malicious actors breached a server in October last year and stole highly sensitive employee information. There are no suggestions these two incidents are connected.

Featured Resources

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Security best practices for PostgreSQL

Securing data with PostgreSQL

Download now

Transform your MSP business into a money-making machine

Benefits and challenges of a recurring revenue model

Download now

The care and feeding of cloud

How to support cloud infrastructure post-migration

Watch now

Recommended

How to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10
encryption

How to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10

9 Apr 2021
The definitive guide to IT security
Whitepaper

The definitive guide to IT security

9 Apr 2021
Evidence suggests REvil behind Harris Federation ransomware attack
ransomware

Evidence suggests REvil behind Harris Federation ransomware attack

9 Apr 2021
Fujitsu taps Trend Micro to secure private 5G networks in smart factories
5G

Fujitsu taps Trend Micro to secure private 5G networks in smart factories

8 Apr 2021

Most Popular

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages
data centres

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages

7 Apr 2021
Data belonging to 500 million LinkedIn users found for sale on hacker marketplace
hacking

Data belonging to 500 million LinkedIn users found for sale on hacker marketplace

8 Apr 2021
How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

8 Apr 2021