IT/Web: February 2016 Archives

What Happened When a NASA Astronaut Got Harassed on Twitter. Motherboard

"In late 2013 and early 2014, Twitter, Google, and three law enforcement agencies in two countries tracked down a British woman who allegedly harassed a NASA astronaut over the course of several months in 2013, according to documents obtained by Motherboard using a Freedom of Information Act request. According to the documents, the astronaut and the woman began direct messaging on Twitter and also texted and called each other several times. After the woman realized the astronaut had a girlfriend, she began sending "false and malicious statements that include excessive profane and abusive language," according to the documents. Motherboard will not be naming the astronaut out of respect for his family's privacy."

Keith's note: After using Uncle Google for a while and searching for NASA airplane tail numbers etc. I came across a website run by NASA Ames online at If you go here you can download all kinds of NASA airplane and drone footage going back a number of years. This really, really ugly HTML 1.0-flavored NASA website is sort of a central uploading point for lots of NASA aircraft imagery and flight data before that data is used by various programs for their research activities. No hacking or FOIA requests required. As best I can tell, some of these "hacked" YouTube videos would seem to have been from NASA's DC-8 N817NA and also NASA 439 C-130H (neither of which are "drones", BTW).

And of course if you go to this other NASA website you can see which NASA planes went where over the past few years via a somewhat better designed website. Nothing is being done in secret.

So -- everyone needs to get busy downloading these oh-so-secret NASA videos and then upload them to YouTube with hashtags suggesting that they are somehow #clandestine or #secret or involved with #chemtrails

NASA Publicly Posted 'Drone Videos' Just Like the 'Hacked' One, Motherboard

"Cowing challenged the hackers to release the logs of their activity if they really want to prove their claims. At the same time, he also admitted that it's possible that the group did get into some NASA system and didn't even realize where they were. "They may have hacked in but their gopher tunnel may have gone sideways as opposed to deep in, and they just bumped into something that was already publicly available," Cowing told me. With the new evidence he found online, that theory appears more likely every day."

- Evil NASA Drone Hack Update, earlier post
- Did Someone Hack NASA's Evil Drones? Answer: No., earlier post

The NASA 'Hack' Is Probably The Most Mundane Hack Ever, Motherboard

"Dan Guido, the founder of security firm Trail of Bits, who reviewed the hackers' claims for Motherboard, said that some of their claims were feasible, but overall, he was skeptical. "I think these hackers did gain access to *something* inside NASA," Guido said in an email. "It was clearly unclassified since all of the servers they claimed to hack were online on the internet. I doubt they are accurately describing their breach and that the reality is likely even more mundane. This obfuscation is likely motivated both by a desire to hype their reputation and to obfuscate efforts at incident response in NASA." In fact, a screenshot they included in the zine, claiming that it showed how they bypassed NASA firewalls, seems to be lifted from a NASA site."

NASA Brushes Off Claims One Of Its Drones Was Hacked, Forbes

"NASA has a lot of freely-available information that hackers could claim was taken from internal systems. The agency's Open Data websites offer more than 30,000 datasets for interested parties."

- Did Someone Hack NASA's Evil Drones? Answer: No., Earlier Post

Hackers Allegedly Hijack Drone After Massive Breach at NASA, Inforwars

"The collection of files, provided to Infowars by AnonSec admin Dêfãult Vírüsa prior to being made public Sunday, include 631 videos from aircraft and weather radars, 2,143 flight logs as well as the names, email addresses and phone numbers of 2,414 NASA employees. A "zine," or self-published paper detailing the hack, dubbed "OpNasaDrones," reveals everything from AnonSec's motives to the specific technical vulnerabilities that enabled the extensive breach."

Keith's 31 Jan note: Normally I'd never link to Infowars since much of what they post is paranoid conspiracy mongering and arm waving. In this case there is overt suggestion that NASA is somehow involved in climate hacking or geoengineering. Since NASA PAO is probably going to be responding to this claim - and this post has lots of screen grabs etc. - what the heck. As for the NASA employee names, mails/phone numbers - anyone can easily get that information from

Keith's 1 Feb update: NASA PAO has replied (it took them several days to comfirm things internally):

"Control of our global hawk aircraft was not compromised. NASA has no evidence to indicate the alleged hacked data are anything other than already publicly available data. NASA takes cybersecurity very seriously and will continue to fully investigate all of these allegations. NASA strives to make our scientific data publically available, including large data sets, which seems to be how the information in question was retrieved. Our Open Data websites offer easier access and use of NASA data through tools and shared experiences using more than 30,000 datasets:


Keith's 1 Feb update: The snarky human behind Dêfãult Vírüsa at @_d3f4ult refuses to provide me with a link to the stuff they hacked from NASA - preferring to use profanity laced taunts telling me to use Google - and when I do, to note how unworthy I am as a Google user. Eventually someone else provided an actual link Meanwhile InfoWars has not updated their article to reflect NASA's statement yesterday.

Keith's 2 Feb update: Well InfoWars did mention NASA's response - but only part of it.

Keith's 2 Feb update: They are going to add the full NASA statement since NASA did not send it to them.



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