As of Friday afternoon, a notice on NASA's kepler.arc.nasa.gov website was reading "Down for Maintenance: The requested webpage is down for maintenance. Please try again later."
The site is only one of what appear to be 14 hacked subdomains, hosted in the heart of Silicon Valley, that were defaced on Tuesday and stayed offline for some time. Pastebin has listed the URLs here.
According to CWZ: Cybercrime Revealed, a hacker/hackers using the handle BMPoC posted a deface page along with a message on all the hacked websites that linked the attack to possible US military intervention in Syria, as well as to US spying on Brazil.
NASA HACKED! BY #BMPoCWe! Stop spy on us! The Brazilian population do not support your attitude! The Illuminati are now visibly acting!
Obama heartless! Inhumane! you have no family? the point in the entire global population is supporting you. NOBODY! We do not want war, we want peace!!! Do not attack the Syrians
The hacker is apparently the same one who took down four NASA domains in April 2013, according to Hack Read.
A NASA spokesman told FoxNews.com that the space agency's IT staff are now investigating, but that nothing major had been compromised:
On Sept. 10, 2013, a Brazilian hacker group posted a political message on a number of NASA websites. ... Within hours of the initial posting, information technology staff at the Ames Research Center discovered the message and immediately started an investigation, which is ongoing. At no point were any of the agency’s primary websites, missions or classified systems compromised.
The hacked sites housed information on the Kepler space telescope, planetary exploration, the moon and more, all run out of the organisation's Ames Research Center.
Why take out political outrage on a science agency?
When Anonymous posted news of the April 2013 attack on its Facebook page, commenters suggested that the rationale for the attack might have been to highlight NASA's spotty security.
In fact, NASA has not had a stellar (ahem) security history:
- In March 2011, algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station were exposed.
- In March 2012, it was the personally identifiable information (PII) of 2,300 employees and students.
- In another incident, it was sensitive data on NASA's Constellation and Orion programs.
- In October 2012, it was PII on an unspecified, but large, number of NASA employees and contractors.
NASA might be picked on simply because it represents low-hanging fruit.
Spotty security doesn't excuse criminal hacking, though. These aren't acts of responsible disclosure, by any means.
Somebody ought to tell BMPoC that he/she/they are bullies kicking sand in the face of rocket scientists who have better things to do than mop up after an attack that's spurred by a head-scratcher of a so-called rationale that's unrelated to NASA's mission.Follow @NakedSecurity