Software // Enterprise Applications
02:06 PM

NASA Employees Warned About Windows Vista Security Loophole

Vista Ultimate and Enterprise editions are the greatest risk unless administrators take preventive steps, the agency says.

Computer security specialists at NASA have warned employees of the space agency not to let down their guard just because they may be using workstations or laptops armed with BitLocker, an encryption feature found on the Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system.

NASA is concerned about a loophole in BitLocker that could allow thieves to access data from a stolen computer or laptop despite encryption.

A document posted on NASA's Web site notes that BitLocker can be configured to require users to insert a USB authentication key into their PCs or laptops in order to boot up. However, it cautions that this feature doesn't work if users shut down their computers in "sleep" mode.

The security feature does work if a machine is set to "hibernate" rather than sleep, so NASA has issued the following directive to its IT managers: "An administrator can reduce the risk of circumvention of BitLocker (through theft of a 'sleeping' rather than 'hibernating' machine) by reducing the duration before the machine goes into hibernation."

The undated document was authored by Aaron Powell and Christopher Vincent, two security specialists who work on NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement Contract, a program through which NASA and related agencies acquire hardware and software.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps – and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of July 17, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.