Man indicted over hacking Nasa-JPL computers

2012-02-09 13:03

Los Angeles - A federal grand jury indicted a Romanian citizen on charges he hacked into 25 climate-research computers at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

The indictment charges Robert Butyka, 25, with one count of unauthorised impairment of a protected computer, according to the US attorney's office in Los Angeles.

Officials said the 2010 attack made computers in the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Programme unusable for two months while malicious code was removed and data restored. The programme is used in climate research and weather forecasting.

The US attorney's office said Nasa worked with Romanian authorities, resulting in Butyka's conviction in Romania in January. He has been sentenced to three years in prison there and would face a sentence of up to 10 years if convicted in the US.

JPL spokesperson Veronica McGregor said it won't disclose how far the hacker got into the system, but he wasn't able to access the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument in space that transmits weather measurements back to Earth.

Damage from the hacking was estimated at $500 000, including costs of work on the computers and lost research time.

  • Kevin - 2012-02-09 14:03

    How can the damage be an estimated value isf the repairs have been caried out.... surely you would have an exact amount...

  • alansmartSnr - 2012-02-09 15:32

    Just wondering what's going to happen when the SAHL(South African Hackers League) unleash their expertise on this corrupt Government. Timing is important..and the clock ticks.. and ticks.

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