A Romanian citizen has been charged this week with breaching computer servers owned and operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The alleged hacker, nicknamed "Iceman," is only 26 years old but managed to cause damages estimated to be in the half-million dollar range.
The breach occurred last December; it took authorities almost a full year to identify the likely culprit and charge him with several crimes. These include gaining unauthorized access to a computer system, restricting the access that properly authorized users have to data in the system, and interfering with the normal function of a computer system. "Iceman," or Robert Butyka, is also believed to have damaged data resources by modifying them.
Romanian police confiscated more than one computer located in Butyka's place of residence, according to news emanating from the nation's official Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism. Industry experts here expressed no surprise that the attack came from an Eastern European nation. Such countries have high levels of e-crime, with many of the hackers deliberately targeting business and government institutions in the United States. Besides Romania, other hot spots for e-crime directed towards American data resources are Bulgaria, Belarus, and Ukraine, along with other former satellite nations of the Soviet Union.
NASA had to deal with the aftermath of a hacker attack and attempt to repair and restore their data, a process that can be both expensive and time-consuming. Best practices for dealing with attempted intrusions include a set of IT solutions and security measures that can be remotely administered by a managed services provider with expertise in proactively heading off breaches.