Last week, NASA got an interesting surprise when 14 of their websites were taken down by an experienced Brazilian hacker. The cyberattack targeted pages by NASA’s Ames Research Center, including one which contained information about the Kepler Space telescope.
Although he was successful in bringing the sites down, the hacker may have accidentally targeted the wrong organization. The intended recipient would appear to be the NSA, but somehow an extra letter was incorrectly inserted into the domain name.
The hacker left this passionate response on the NASA domain on Friday, explaining his motivation behind the attack:
“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.”
Despite a misplaced letter providing us with a somewhat reasonable explanation, other evidence would suggest that the mistake was intentional. This isn’t the first time that the accused hacker has targeted NASA, going after 4 more of the space program’s pages in April. Furthermore, unlike the NSA’s domains which are heavily protected, NASA is known for its relatively relaxed security measures, making it a popular destination among the hacking community.
Regardless of whether NASA was the intended recipient or not, the compromised webpages certainly raised awareness about Brazil’s anger towards the United States. After learning that their nation is the second most monitored country by the NSA, followed only by the US, Brazil is understandably unhappy.
In response to this knowledge, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff recently cancelled a planned trip to Washington, and the country is now looking for a way to completely disconnnect itself from US' internet; a task that is easier said than done.