LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A Romanian citizen faces federal charges for
allegedly hacking into NASA computers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
Pasadena in an attack that caused more than $500,000 in damage, prosecutors
Robert “Iceman’ Butyka, 25, of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, was indicted
Tuesday on charges of hacking into 25 NASA computers at JPL in December 2010,
according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The computers were part of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Program,
which is used to support climate research and improve weather forecasting,
As a result of Butyka’s alleged attack, researchers were unable to use
the computers for more than two months while NASA removed the malicious code in
the machines, restored data and took steps to prevent further access by
Damage suffered by NASA was put at more than a half-million dollars,
which includes the costs of completing the work on the computers and the time
lost to scientific researchers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration worked with Romanian
authorities to investigate the matter, and as a result of those efforts, Butyka
was prosecuted and convicted in his native country, U.S. prosecutors said.
Last month, Butyka was sentenced in Romania to three years in prison and
seven years of probation for his illegal conduct.
The one-count indictment returned by the federal grand jury in Los
Angeles charges Butyka with unauthorized impairment of a protected computer.
If convicted of the computer hacking offense, Butyka would face up to 10
years in a United States prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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