- Seven hours after the Columbia shuttle tragedy a hacking group struck down nine servers belonging to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
The digital attacks were recorded around 22:15 GMT and carried on in succession until 23:54 GMT. All nine JPL.NASA.GOV servers were running on the Sun Solaris operating system at the time.
An extract of the propaganda left behind by the hacker group – Trippin Smurfs – is as follows:
“I noticed that an war with Iraq is iminent.. and i wonder why?! … When is this going to stop? Why does U.S attack Iraq? Maybe because they have i dont know what kind of weapons (chimical,atomic.. and others) but doesnt other countries have that too lets say U.S.A! They have a lot of this and no one is attacking them!
But where is Bin Laden? Is he dead .. or Fbi,CIA couldn`t get him.. at least finish that war .. dont start an other .. a lot of people is going to die! And all this for nothing .. or maybe U.S tries to prove how good are they .. that they have the finest technology.. !!”
This is the third time the Trippin Smurfs have successfully compromised servers belonging to JPL at Nasa. On 18th January 2003 they attacked two NASA JPL servers running on IRIX and another three on 25th January this year. This latest incident is the first time they have uploaded politically charged content.
The Trippin Smurfs have been active since 28th September 2001 according to the mi2g SIPS database and have carried out a total of 1,034 verifiable overt digital attacks of which 382 were carried out in 2003. Trippin Smurfs focus on attacking unix style systems – having hacked a total of 455 Sun Solaris systems, 307 Linux systems and only 6 Microsoft Windows systems.
The mi2g Intelligence Unit does not believe that the attacks are linked with any major fundamentalist hacking activity. At the time of writing, the nine NASA JPL servers are still down. Further investigations into the Trippin Smurfs are being carried out.
Articulate the Trippin Smurfs are not – it would seem fairly clear they are not native English speakers.