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Japan’s Space Agency Hacked - Rocket Data Boosted by Malware

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has said that it is investigating a potential data leak related to its Epsilon rocket after Malware was discovered on its network.

JAXA said that the malware was discovered November 21 on a computer at its Tsukuba Space Center northeast of Tokyo. According to a statement from the agency, the malware was collecting and transmitting information related to the Epsilon rocket (due to launch in 2013), the M5 rocket, and the H2A / H2B rockets. The data included details on engine specs, agency meeting notes, protocols, and other related data.

However, they are not certain how much data managed to make it outside of the network before the malware was detected. There is a chance that nothing was leaked at all, but at this point they’re assuming the worst. Security is being re-tuned and tightened in order to prevent further incidents.

The Epsilon is Japan’s first solid-fueled rocket, and there is high hope that the expensive R&D project will offer a serious boost to the nation’s space exploration goals and satellite industry.

Earlier this year, JAXA disclosed a separate security incident where malware likely compromised data related to the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV, a cargo transporter to the International Space Station,).

Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.