Hacker Breaches European Space Agency's Servers

ESA previews a very busy 2011 with the simulated Red Planet landing for the MARS 500 crew, Arianespace\'s 200th launch, the Kepler ATV, delivery of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) to ISS and

A crafty cyberprankster says he’s cracked into the servers of the European Space Agency (ESA), but the space agency is downplaying the significance of the breach.

TinKode — the nom de hack of a Romanian national who’s previously broken into servers at NASA, the Royal Navy, the U.S. Army and YouTube — posted details of dozens of ESA online accounts, including the main root account for the agency’s website and 13 file-transfer-protocol (FTP) server accounts. 

He left some passwords obscured or encrypted, and promptly emailed the ESA, which is based in Paris, to let administrators know. [5 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft]

An ESA spokesman told the British tech blog The Register that, “The main website was not affected and this has had no effect at all on our internal network."

The FTP servers held only dull scientific data, the spokesman said, adding that they had all been taken offline.

The Romanian tech blog Softpedia reported that TinKode had timed his breach for yesterday (April 17) to coincide with the 41st anniversary of the safe return to Earth of the Apollo 13 crew, who famously suffered a near-fatal malfunction on the way to the moon in 1970. 

Softpedia did not say how it learned that detail.

This story was provided by SecurityNewsDaily, a sister site to SPACE.com.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.