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HACKER NABS TOP SECRET U.S. SPACE CODES

Codes used for guiding spaceships, rockets and satellites

Source: ZD Net UK

Posted on March 5, 2001

      An unidentified computer hacker has got hold of top secret US computer system codes for guiding spaceships, rockets and satellites, a lawyer in Sweden said Friday.

      Computer experts raided the offices of an information technology company in Stockholm last month and found a copy of the source codes for the software program OS/COMET developed by US firm Exigent Software Technology, Johan Starell, legal counsel for Exigent in Sweden, told Reuters.

      A source code contains full details of how a software program works.

      OS/COMET has been deployed by the US Air Force on the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) Colorado Springs Monitor Station, Exigent said in a statement in December.

      The suspected source code theft, carried out remotely over the Internet on Christmas eve last year from the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, was detected on 27 December.

      The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was put on the case. The trail led to Freebox.com, an Internet Web server run by the Swedish IT company Carbonide, Starell said.

      "A stolen source code was found on their server but nothing indicates they had anything to do with getting it there," Starell said.

      Analyses of the Carbonide server accessed by the hacker known only by the username "LEEIF" showed that the perpetrator had been able to hide his or her true identity by breaking into the account of a genuine Freebox.com client and using that person's Internet account.

      "We couldn't get any further information about where it came from or find out if it had been copied and sent elsewhere," he said.

      "Sweden seems like a closed chapter. We can't get any further here," he added.

      The OS/COMET source code could be used by terrorists to disturb computer systems guiding various space programs or it could have been stolen in industrial espionage for commercial advantage, the Swedish tabloid Expressen reported.




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