Hacker steals JPL data


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A hacker last year was successfully able to hack into the computer system at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California and steal 500MB of data.

Who did the hacking is not revealed in the inspector general report [pdf], but the report lists six different hacks of JPL’s computers going back to 2009, two of which were linked to China. It is therefore reasonable to assume that China, which routinely steals new ground-breaking technology rather than develop it itself, was the likely culprit. In addition, the timing of these hacks, from 2009 to 2017, fits well with the steady growth of China’s lunar program. If you wanted to find out how to build an unmanned probe to go to the Moon, JPL would be the ideal facility to steal the technology from.

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2 comments

  • Cotour

    I have always thought after reading similar story’s about the hacking of technology or a design, usually by China, as they attempt to dominate the planet, and I wonder if there is a disinformation program that is allowed to be hacked that is full of bad information?

    Is it always “safe” to hack technology and designs?

  • Cotour: In the case of JPL, the hacked material is almost certainly safe to use by anyone. JPL is not in the business of spying or spreading disinformation. They are in the business of flying planetary probes, a business that is very difficult and challenging. If they let themselves play games with their data for other irrelevant reasons (to them), they would risk getting sloppy.

    This story I think explains much of China’s recent success on the Moon. They used American know-how to make it happen.

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