A Confused Brazilian Hacker May Have Targeted NASA Websites to Protest NSA Surveillance

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Sept. 19 2013 2:21 PM

A Confused Brazilian Hacker May Have Targeted NASA Websites to Protest NSA Surveillance

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The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket launches from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility September 18, 2013 in Wallops Island, Virginia.

Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

A Brazilian hacker who took down 14 separate NASA websites last week may have gotten confused and inserted an extra letter when trying to hack the NSA website. The hack specifically targeted websites run by NASA's Ames Research Center, including a site on its Kepler space telescope. The Brazilian hacker(s) managed to post this incoherent message to the NASA domain on Friday:

NASA HACKED! BY #BMPoCWe! Stop spy on us! The Brazilian population do not support your attitude! The Illuminati are now visibly acting!
Obama heartless! Inhumane! you have no family? the point in the entire global population is supporting you. NOBODY! We do not want war, we want peace!!! Do not attack the Syrians.
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Then again, it wasn't necessarily a typo that led to the NASA website being hacked—as Lisa Vaas explains in Naked Security, NASA's online presence is more hackable than other government websites, presenting "low-hanging fruit" for "hacktivists." The same Brazilian hacker responsible for Friday's attack also targeted four NASA domains in April. According to a NASA spokeswoman, no sensitive data were compromised.

After reports of NSA snooping in Brazil came out, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff canceled her planned state visit to the White House. While Brazil is considered to have an open internet compared with the United States and other countries, the Brazilian government has taken incremental steps to exert more and more control over its citizens' Internet usage.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.

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