A NASA officer accused of hacking a bank account from space. What really happened?

Cybersecurity incidents could happen even in outer space. According to leaked documents, a federal grand jury has indicted an astronaut’s estranged wife on charges of a fake claiming, after she assured that her bank account was accessed from the International Space Station.

The defendant Summer Worden, 44, is now facing two counts of making materially false, fictitious and maliciously intended statements; one of the charges has been presented by the Federal Trade Commission, while the other was presented by NASA Office of Inspector General.

Worden is still married to astronaut Anne McClain, who is not explicitly named in the indictment, but several media have reported she was stationed at the International Space Station during the dates listed in the court’s documents; on the other hand, several national reports about this legal affair actually name the astronaut.

According to prosecutors, Worden intentionally made false statements before the Federal Trade Commission last March 2019, when she assured that she created a new checking account during September 2018 and had changed her passwords “aiming to prevent her wife could access to her financial status and transactions history”.

In fact, she opened the checking account during April 2018, besides she forgot to change her username and password until the beginning of 2019, the prosecutors’ files stated. 

Worden also faces charges for making the same statements to special officials in NASA’s Office of Inspector General. Worden reportedly told officials that his wife had accessed his new bank checking account (in USAA) from a computer on the International Space Station without her consent at least twice.

Officials claim Warren had previously provided her online banking access details to the astronaut and then repeatedly allowed her to log into the account. Prosecutors added that, before those two dates the account was supposedly accessed, Worden never revoked her permission to access the bank account.

The grand jury indicted Worden on Feb. 27, although the judgment could be postponed due to the social distancing policy. If found guilty Warren could face a sentence of up to five years in prison for each charge, as well as a potential $250k USD fine.