Feds Closing in on Super Computer Hacker(s)?
John Markoff and Lowell Bergman have a front-page story in The New York Times today about an ongoing investigation into a series of attacks "on computer systems serving the American military, NASA and research laboratories."
The story says the FBI is looking at a 16-year-old in Uppsala, Sweden, as the possible culprit. The Times says the kid was charged in March with breaking into university computers in his hometown, and that "investigators in the American break-ins ultimately traced the intrusions back to the Uppsala university network."
Markoff and Bergman say the attacks are ongoing, but that they date back about one year. The story mentions fairly high up in the piece that part of the investigation has to do with news I broke last April about hackers infiltrating advanced computing networks at more than 20 universities and research institutions nationwide. In that attack, the hackers gained access to a number of high-speed computing networks used by the U.S. military and NASA, among others. The breaches included break-ins at various portions of the TeraGrid, a network of computers funded by the National Science Foundation for use on intensive data-crunching projects.
The Times story does a nice job of linking several separate and previously reported incidents to a hacker who goes by the name "Stakkato." In addition to the TeraGrid angle, the Times piece draws threads through other hacks, including a break-in at Internet router giant Cisco Systems and an untold number of digital intrusions at NASA.
It looks like Markoff again is showcasing his impressive resources within the hacker and law enforcement communities. I especially like the anecdote about how the hacker supposedly erased the hard drive of one of his victims because she annoyed him.
Astute readers of hacker history will recall Markoff's part in the investigation, arrest and 4-year imprisonment of legendary ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick. Some people say Markoff crossed the line from reporting that story to becoming part of it by actually helping investigators apprehend Mitnick. According to a segment of "Takedown," a controversial book he co-authored about the Mitnick investigation, Markoff sat in a van with a telephone company worker and listened in on an FBI wiretap of Mitnick's phone conversations. Markoff's coverage of the investigation later netted him a share in a movie deal based on the book.
Posted by: chandler | May 11, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.