As NASA shifts priorities, officials need to keep eye on cybersecurity – NextGov

Information security will continue to be a key challenge for NASA if it cancels human flight plans to pursue automated rocketry technologies and other robotic missions, according to computer security specialists.

President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget proposes the space agency drop the $3.5 billion Constellation program intended to return astronauts to the moon by 2020 and instead work with industry to build other technologies, including automated docking and robotic systems.

“I hope that NASA will avoid the temptation of integrating open, Internet communications into these programs,” said Lynn McNulty, co-chairman of the government advisory board and outgoing director of government affairs at (ISC)2, an information security certification organization. “This introduces a new complexity of security issues into the NASA risk environment.”