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Skilled Romanian Hacker Breaches The European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (pictured top) experienced an interesting way of celebrating it’s anniversary of Apollo 13’s safe return to Earth, by having it’s website hacked. The skilled Romanian hacker, also known as a grey hat hacker goes by the alias, TinKode. TinKode hacked into www.esa.int and leaked a list of FTP accounts, email addresses and passwords for administrators and editors. Exactly thirteen FTP accounts were leaked to coincide with Apollo 13’s mission number.

The hacker also posted a full disclosure of the attack on his security blog, and mentioned some specifics of his target such as the staff number, composition of states, and the ESA’s 2011 budget of 5.65 billion dollars. TinKode didn’t mention how he managed to hack the website, but he was sure to include the ESA’s main server information as well as root, database, admin, editor and FTP accounts. Although TinKode partially hid passwords from the hundreds of proxies carrying usernames and passwords, the passwords could most likely be decrypted with ease. I am sure ESA staff were immediately warned to change their passwords.

TinKode even reported the breach to the ESA, perhaps to lessen the damage of the data breach. TinKode is a very experienced hacker and has targeted the following websites; “U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command, the U.S. Army 470th MI Brigade, the National Weather Service (NOAA), the Royal Navy, Reuters, Kaspersky Portugal, and Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), Google, and YouTube.” I have to admit that his screen name suits him well.

Photo Courtesy of European Space Agency
Photo Courtesy of NASA Goddard Photo And Video