NASA reveals data breach of employee information including Social Security numbers in October; scope of breach and number of impacted employees still unclear (Catalin Cimpanu/ZDNet)

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The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) admitted today to getting hacked earlier this year.

In an internal memo sent to all employees, the agency said that an unknown intruder gained access to one of its servers storing the personal data of current and former employees. Social Security numbers were also compromised, NASA said.

The agency said it discovered the hack on October 23, almost two months ago. It is unclear why the agency waited nearly two months to notify employees, but it is common for US law enforcement to ask hacked organizations to delay notifying affected victims while they investigate an incident.

NASA confirmed it was working with federal cybersecurity partners “to examine the servers to determine the scope of the potential data exfiltration and identify potentially affected individuals.”

Also: Cathay Pacific breach leaks personal data on 9.4 million people CNET | Why 31% of data breaches lead to employees getting fired TechRepublic

The agency still doesn’t know the scope of the breach and the number of impacted employees. In its memo today, NASA said it was notifying all employees so they could take countermeasures against possible fraud, as a precaution.

“Those NASA Civil Service employees who were on-boarded, separated from the agency, and/or transferred between Centers, from July 2006 to October 2018, may have been affected,” said Bob Gibbs, NASA Assistant Administrator, in the memo.

“Once identified, NASA will provide specific follow-up information to those employees, past and present, whose PII was affected, to include offering identity protection services and related resources, as appropriate,” he said.

The agency said the investigation into the hack “will take time.”

A NASA spokesperson did not immediately respond to ZDNet’s request for comment.

NASA also said it didn’t believe that any of its missions were jeopardized by the hack.

The US space agency also suffered similar security breaches in 2011 and 2016.

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