Massive NASA Hack, including Climate Systems


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A group of hackers, apparently part of a community of hackers who spend their time casually cruising poorly defended US government computers, have busted into and claim to have interfered with sensitive NASA systems, including climate monitoring projects.

Hackers have released online 250GB of data purloined from NASA systems – and claim to have diverted a multi-million-dollar drone the agency uses to run high-altitude sampling missions.

“So yeah, we know what you’re thinking, hacking NASA? How fucking cliche… If only I had a Dogecoin for every time someone claimed that, amiright?” the group wrote in an online posting.

“It’s like the boy who cried wolf but with hacking NASA instead lol. But you might be surprised how low govt security standards can be, especially with a limited budget and clueless boomers controlling the network.

The swiped records include the names, numbers, and email addresses of 2,414 NASA staffers, as well as more than 2,000 flight logs and 600 video feeds from the agency’s fleet of aircraft. The hacker team, calling itself Anonsec, published the data on the web with an explanation of how the hack took place.

Read more:

None of the techniques the hackers used to break in sound remotely challenging in a technical sense. The hackers provided a detailed description of their escapade.

After gaining an initial foothold, by purchasing a hacked NASA account from a friend, they simply mapped the internal architecture of the NASA computer network using well known tools. Many of the systems they encountered were configured to use the default password (the well known initial vendor password, created when the system is installed), or had no password at all. They then leapfrogged from system to system, each leap opening yet more opportunities to widen their breach of NASA security.

These hackers were apparently interested in finding inside information about the Chemtrails conspiracy theory. I guess this puts their motives on a par with the last clown who broke into NASA and the Department of Defence, who was looking for evidence of imprisoned aliens, antigravity systems, and alleged government suppression of “free” energy technology.

125 thoughts on “Massive NASA Hack, including Climate Systems

    • We don’t know yet, as they would admit to it if there is any embarrassing stuff in there.
      NASA should do observations, measurements of various climate parameters. As far as interpretation is concerned Dr. Gavin Schmitt should follow example of a rare solar scientist’s admission, and forthwith issue a statement (before the hackers may do) something on lines:
      “We’re know climate is changing, but we’re not sure exactly why. It could be sun, it could be something to do with oceans or geodynamics, we just don’t know”.

      • FJ Shepherd: Last I read, NOAA has released (part/all?) emails related to the pause-buster data to Lamar Smith’s office. I believe it was mid-December.

    • Exactly! I won’t believe that NASA was actually hacked unless the info is publicly available, comprehensive, broad-reaching and truly embarrassing for the agency. Otherwise is is just another story, a low-cost propaganda exercise of enormous value to those of an authoritarian mindset.

      • Of course, now they cannot say that all of their data is secure and accurate, and should people complain that some data doesnt make sense or looks different, they can just say “Oh, hackers must have altered it.”
        That it is so easy to get in from the outside is amazing. It makes me wonder how easily ANY employee can access data files of any kind. If the climate data isnt restricted to a handful of people, then if it all falls down, Gavin and James and every other big dog has an out because it could have been anyone.
        My husband works doing online security protocols and evaluations for companies and it’s mindblowing to hear how insecure, wasteful, and poorly managed so many incredibly important systems are. Im sure the government is the worst of them all.

      • Do you also still not believe that one of central HR agencies of the US Federal Government was comprehensively hacked last year -with highly specific personal data concerning close to 1MM Gov employees out there for everyone to see?
        Do you still also believe that Hilary Clinton’s personal server which she used for information which the intelligence community now confirms is at the apex of the classified security pyramid was not hacked by the intelligence services of just about any friend or foe nation?
        Time to get real. There is a generation of brilliant unbelievably sophisticated hackers out there – some of them of those human varieties many older adults can’t even bring themselves to talk about like gay, autistic, hyperlexic or otherwise “weird”, who in the proverbial dark, can draw tech savvy circles around the generations in charge of security – the GenX cum Millenials who were teat fed tech insights and understandings boomers just can’t get their minds around.
        I know one up close who tells me that if you’re connected – and even when you think you’re flying stealth – they can see the color of your pubics if they want to…

      • The Office of Personnel Management has been hacked twice, by their own admission. Turns out that all SF85s submitted over the last several years, by Government and contractor personnel, were stored on OPM servers, which were hacked. I’ve received a letter telling me that my information has been compromised, and what steps the USG has taken to protect me from identity theft. Every family member who’s info was included in my SF85 is also being protected at tax-payer expense.
        When I was working, colleagues would rant and rave about our company’s computer security measures. But they are clearly necessary, and we saw little evidence of anyone in the USG taking computer security security seriously, other than the DoD. (I didn’t have any experience with any of the other three-letter agencies who believe in security.)
        This isn’t the first time NASA has been hacked. We on the contractor side went through serious turmoil when NASA shut down any outside access to their networks in response to a hack a number of years ago.

      • The Office of Personnel Management has been hacked twice, by their own admission. Turns out that all SF85s submitted over the last several years, by Government and contractor personnel, were stored on OPM servers, which were hacked. I’ve received a letter telling me that my information has been compromised, and what steps the USG has taken to protect me from identity theft. Every family member who’s info was included in my SF85 is also being protected at tax-payer expense.

        I got the same letter, based on a Federal Gov’t IT project I was part of in DC back in 2008/09. Of course the ID protection they provide is only temporary. All the hackers have to do is sit on the data for a couple of years then most of those accounts will be unprotected.

      • I know one up close who tells me that if you’re connected – and even when you think you’re flying stealth – they can see the color of your pubics if they want to…

        Too bad they can’t figure what a conscience is, or right and wrong.

      • Jeff:
        “Too bad they can’t figure what a conscience is, or right and wrong.”
        Think of it as the cyber version of the 1960s “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with..”

      • And don’t forget the drone with a clear-text live video feed and stored video.
        A gift to the enemy.
        The US military seems even more inept than the rest. (And don’t get me started on the stealth plane concept addiction.)

  1. What is a lot of this stuff doing on the Internet anyway? I’m sure all of Hillary’s emails are safely tucked away in Moscow and Beijing as well. As Bugs Bunny used to say.. “What a bunch of Maroons”.

    • rbabcock February 2, 2016 at 6:17 am
      What is a lot of this stuff doing on the Internet …
      Now there is a rich conflation of what happened, where the material was found …
      What are you thinking, that ppl are still keeping boxes of card decks sitting around, or in Steelcase card cabinets?

      • I use to keep the really important ones in my left shirt pocket along with a few to use for notes.

      • But just in case there is some important information that you might need to refute AGW, well, that’s safely stored in a landfill. Your personal info is available for any enterprising criminal to find. You should be more careful, says the government as they shift blame.

    • Agreed, but even so, it shouldn’t be as easy as they describe.
      If only NASA has some rocket scientists to help with their security.
      Oh, wait…never mind.

      • Monna: I can’t let your comment pass (I wanted to), but, having worked in major computing centres and having set up v large systems management processes, it’s not down to the ‘rocket scientists’ to determine the security processes and procedures. The fault lies fully with the Systems Management dept. (And, in my management process, NO-ONE was allowed system-sensitive passwords without proper change-management controls. Something that seems to have gone by the board with the move of the ‘PC’ into large system environments. Here endeth the lesson.)

    • agreed. i hate these people with a passion. they are no better than any other thief. in an ideal world you should be able to leave what you like (physical or electronic property) where you like .

      • Yes, possibly. But, if they can do it so easily, so can anyone else around the world so it may
        be helpful to know these systems are vulnerable so it can be addressed.

  2. From ElReg:

    “One of the main purposes of the Operation was to bring awareness to the reality of Chemtrails/CloudSeeding/Geoengineering/Weather Modification, whatever you want to call it, they all represent the same thing. NASA even has several missions dedicated to studying Aerosols and their affects (sic) on the environment and weather, so we targeted their systems,” the group states.
    While cloud seeding to produce rainfall or other desired conditions has been researched by NASA, and has been used heavily by the Chinese for years now, the group believes that the US government is distributing heavy metals throughout the atmosphere and that these chemicals have an adverse reaction on human health and crops.

    I guess Pete Gleick wasn’t involved. He would have written chemtrail material to leave on NASA’s systems.
    You remember Peter, right?

    • The hackers are clearly living in an imaginary world as this section is followed up with the Monsanto “Terminator seeds” conspiracy meme, but this is another example where you have to look beyond the nutty ideas and consider the information regardless of the source.
      The reason the warmist cabal refer to skeptics as deniers is so that they can ignore any points that are raised in the data. Who was it (Gavin, maybe?) who refused to even be on a stage with Roy Spencer because of his religious views? This is just sophistry and artifice and something all scientists need to guard against – you cannot dismiss data just because you don’t like the politics of the person supplying it. I don’t know if there is any interesting information in the data dump, but I hope that whatever is found is not dismissed because the group of hackers (who did this illegally remember) have some seriously wacky ideas of their own.
      What I noted in the Reg story was that the attack was sucessfully defended after the hackers took control of a drone and flew it off-course, which triggered the alarms (with the drone returning to manual control. Although the poor security is a worry, it would seem that real mission critical tasks still have enough oversight to maintain them.

      • If the hackers were able to take control of the drone, then by definition it was already on manual control.

      • MarkW February 2, 2016 at 9:53 am
        If the hackers were able to take control of the drone
        It may have been flying a set of NASA defined waypoints prior to the hack.

  3. Hillary’s suite at Leavenworth is going to be SRO once the true scope of the failed Obama admin is known…

    • Oddly Paul, in the US it seems that an infraction committed by a Republican is highly newsworthy, gets mercilessly reported by the Main Stream Media, and the person is assumed guilty until proven innocent while a similar infraction by a Democrat just doesn’t seem to be very important.

      • The Republican doesn’t even have to be guilty. If the MSM can paint him as having the appearance of impropriety, that is usually sufficient.

  4. “especially with a limited budget and clueless boomers controlling the network.””
    Hey, I resent that. I’m a boomer and I ran the IT Sec for FTC & NSF and I am NOT clueless. Aside from the occasional Chinese intrusion (they were looking for any info they could find about Nanotech) I never had a major intrusion and I never allowed any servers to retain ‘default’ configurations.
    Just because we’re ‘boomers’ it doesn’t mean we are clueless about IT

    • However, the facts appear to support the notion that clueless boomers were in charge of the network… and that’s coming from an old boomer…

    • My experiences indicate it’s the millenials who are the problem. They are more interested in making things “sick”, “cool” or “awesome” than in creating functionality. Case in point — Microsoft has screwed up Windows functionality to the point of being nearly unusable. I just bought a new Windows 10 laptop and find I can’t even resize a photograph for emailing. My son, who is director of software development for a major company often complains that the newer “programmers” coming out of school are incapable of thinking and analyzing, but are simply “mechanics” who can manipulate code without a clue as to planning and implementing subroutines into a functional whole. A generation who can’t see the forest for the trees.

      • I know that. I tried to explain the value of flow charting the intended logic of a program to one of our grad students and he acted like this was new territory. He acted like I was wasting time in working out all the logic branchings and subtasks BEFORE I started writing code. He went off and started writing while I worked out a couple of the more difficult logic branches.
        He was still pounding code bugs when I brought in the first outputs. I was able to modularize the whole thing and reuse most of it multiple times, because the flow chart showed that the same basic steps were being repeated in every branch, just the passed in values were different.
        Of course I am still a code dinosaur. I have always thought of programming functionally rather than object oriented and just don’t get this object stuff. I just write a function and use it over and over rather than instantiate and instance of a class and gobbledy the gook.

      • Owen said:

        instantiate and instance of a class and gobbledy the gook./i>

        I couldn’t have said it better. Guess I’m also just another dinosaur. All that class junk just got in the way of a clean design. It was always fun to sit back an watch the latest buzz words from the ‘Computer Scientists’ fly around development labs and customer IT departments. It didn’t matter that 90% of the people using them didn’t have the foggiest idea of their actual meaning. They’d be gone or replaced in six months anyway. We even had a salesman for a minicomputer firm tell us that they were soon coming out with a hot new chip level processor that would execute Pascal pcode directly. One of our managers was totally snowed and wanted to redesign the system for it even though it wasn’t documented yet. He’d also never shipped a product in his life (and never would what from I could tell) but he sure knew all the buzz words to make upper level management happy.

      • Microsoft has screwed up Windows functionality to the point of being nearly unusable. I just bought a new Windows 10 laptop and find I can’t even resize a photograph for emailing.
        You should try Apple’s Preview image processor. When you open an image it does not import a duplicate image to work on (to be saved later), it manipulates the original. So if you screw up the image (or if IT screws up the image, as it often does), you have just destroyed the original. So you have to duplicate every image before working on it. A crazier system would be hard to imagine.
        Claris Works, Apple’s original word processing and image software, was far superior to its replacements.

      • Windows 10 is dreadful IMO. But corporates are rushing to it. Thankfully, Windows 7 is still supported until 2020. I would imagine Windows 10 will be replaced by something else once it is determined it is a dogs breakfast!

    • “Just because we’re ‘boomers’ it doesn’t mean we are clueless about IT”
      I’m sure you aren’t. Nonetheless, the internet “architecture” (I’ve seen third world slums with more architectural harmony) seems really target-rich. Seems to me like you’d know about successful penetrations only by fortunate accident or if the penetrators chose to let you know about them.

      • It is easier to detect penetrations into government computers than you think. Years ago, someone I know well inserted an SD chip into a defense computer for a valid data transfer. Unfortunately, an upgrade had taken away the permission to do this. In two minutes there were guards with guns all over the place.
        A few weeks later I watched a young woman do the same thing in the first Transformer movie with similar results. I’m sure the audience around me thought I was nuts when I burst out laughing in the middle of a tense scene.

      • Something like MOM/SCOM or Unicentre TNG to “monitor” various objects on a PC platform. In a Windows/AD/GPO environment, all that can be locked down.

    • “clueless boomers” appears to be applied only to those working at NASA in this instance. I’m sure we all know boomers that are not clueless and are experts in IT. Just not the ones working at NASA, it seems.

      • Reality
        I is a boomer – and I is carp at this eyetie.
        I can type and re-size photos [though not on Bloatware 10], and even send emails . . .
        But code – only as far as Big Chief I-Spy’s words of wisdom at the back of the books!
        Cyber security worries me at work [and @ home]; but I know enough to know I won’t solve it.
        Sure – better passwords, no USB sticks, watch dodgy emails. Then I’m stuck.
        I’d like to advertise for a Cybersecurity specialist – must be under 23!

    • I guess I’m an X (born ’66) , but boomers taught me .. C, basic, unix.. my first real programming was in the PLATO environment , then I left computers for a few years came back and learned DOS and had to wrap my head around win 3.11. I kinda lost interest after win2k but across all this it was the ‘boomers’ who’s systems I was using, the ones they designed and built. I wouldn’t be too contemptuous of them, these are the guys who gave us FHSS communications and other tech that makes the modern world work.. I did watch a lot of them depart the field shaking their heads and worn out by idiot requests and stupid decisions by youngsters who understood nothing about computers but who played with them. Users, script kiddies, and worst – middle managers..

    • DITTO we’re all not stupid. Leaving a server (or router etc) with its default setup is totally unforgivable in IT Security. That’s just lazy!

  5. Interesting hack detail here –
    “[+] ATTREX – Airborne Tropical TRpopause EXperiment [+]
    Despite its low concentration, stratospheric water vapor has large impacts on the earth’s energy budget and climate. Recent studies
    suggest that even small changes in stratospheric humidity may have climate impacts that are significant compared to those of decadal
    increases in greenhouse gases. Future changes in stratospheric humidity and ozone concentration in response to changing climate are
    significant climate feedbacks.”…….

  6. I guess this puts their motives on a par with the last clown who broke into NASA and the Department of Defence, who was looking for evidence of imprisoned aliens,…

    All together now. Free the aliens! Free the aliens! Free …

  7. So here we are in the second half of the second decade of the 21st Century and another well funded government department has their computer systems cracked by script kiddies.
    Shaking my head.

    • PaulH: I think you badly underestimate the difficulty in preventing unauthorized access to a computer system. The couple of times in my working career that I had to (with permission) crack into a system, it was tedious and a bit slow, but not that hard. If I could do it, there are surely millions of others who could do the same thing.
      Granted, defenses are better nowadays, but so surely are the tools available to attackers.
      I think that if you want to keep something secret, your best bet is to write it down on paper and stash the paper in a locked box under your bed.
      Here’s a write up on a recent speech by the head of NSA’s tailored access operations (hackers)

      • Don, the 1st law of computer security is:

        The only secure system is one that provides no function.

  8. Maybe when they finish finding out who the aliens are and their attempts to terraform this planet through cloud seeding, perhaps look for the evidence of illegal data tampering and undue political influence in a science agency.

  9. They accuse “boomers” of being clueless, but they break into NASA looking for hidden “chemtrail” information. Now, who’s really clueless here? Everyone knows DoD is in charge of the chemtrail program.

    • They closed down their weather modification station near Kimberly, South Africa not long ago. “Eddie in Ficksburg” complained about it on phone-in shows for years and he was touted as a crank. He was right all along! Now to find those photos of Gleick Photoshopping the moon landing negatives….

      • The chemtrail cranks aren’t talking about cloud seeding programs. They think the contrails behind jets are secret chemical sprays.

  10. when I first went online I searched for something on alta vista or something and got 2 results so I went to one and there was a message “go away”. I went away but I was intrigued so I went back ” look I said go away” and then my computer stopped working.

  11. wait til the find the evidence that NASA-employed extraterrestrials are using chemtrails to divert attention from the faked moon landings. That will be nearly as strange as the current election cycle.

      • “Ok, but make sure to get lots of pieces of rock, because later we’ll decide to stay in a room on our regular orb and watch hammers hold themselves and hit rocks for us, and they won’t bring us very many rocks.” XKCD and explainXKCD

      • It’s been proved that concrete can be manufactured using only moon rocks and water.
        At Kennedy space center there’s a moon rock on display that one can touch.
        So they didn’t just lock them in a closet.

      • well interestingly enough concerning concrete it has been suggested that organic matter has been seen in pieces of the pyramid rocks. So could pyramids have been cast in situ in perfect proportion of particle sizes to resemble real rocks ?

      • Zimlic,
        I have forgotten his name, but I remember seeing a show on TV a few years ago where they interviewed an Eastern Europeans engineer (Yugoslavian I think) who claimed that the pyramids were poured in place. He also claimed to have discovered a way to make concrete that matched the ‘rocks’ used in their build. His theory sure was one solution for a lot of problems in their construction (e.g., how they fit together so well, how they were transported, how they were placed, etc.).

      • The moon is rich in Helium 3. Do you know why the US wanted Helium 3?
        @ Zemlik… I have only one question about the pyramids. A cubit is 0. 5236 meters which that number is 1/6 of pi. How did they know that exact measurement without knowing what a meter was? That 6 is (598) tenths of a millimeter.

    • If you want strange primary elections, you have to come to New Hampshire. A friend of mine in Nashua who works on the Clinton campaign posted a photo of him with Vermin Supreme. He’s the fringe candidate who wears a tall boot for a hat and promises everyone a pony if he wins. OTOH, this is the first year where the major candidates are as strange as the fringe candidates.
      All it takes to get on the ballot in New Hampshire is $1,000 and a visit to the Secretary of State’s office to talk to Bill Gardner. Some people (and a gorilla) seem to take advantage of us.
      I was there when he announced the date of the 2012 primary, that was one where we nearly had to move it to December because several other states wanted to be first.

      • You have a friend who works on the Clinton campaign? You’re more magnanimous than one might believe…. unless it’s the campaign to get her locked up… /:)

  12. With their fingers deep in the honey pot …all the real aliens and chemtrails are somewhere hacked the bit they left for you to hack… I mean if you are going on for tinfoil hats., mines a triple layered one with insulation in between 🙂
    It never ceases to amaze me how these monumentally cunning conspiracies depend for their uncovering on monumentally stupid mistakes, allegedly.

  13. British Telecom’s internet service fell apart this afternoon. At this stage they have not specified reason, but do not suspect external malicious act (hacking).

      • Want to see what “one wrong thing” can do? Read this…
        I reluctantly took on-call support from my teammate ~4:30pm July 26th 2012 (Young, mid 20’s and not much experience in large systems managed environments. Who, not deliberately, initiated the problem with an untested SQL query on an System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) central site server (Fan-out type hierarchy). After I finished my day, ~5:30pm, the support phone went. I worked non-stop 24hrs per day for 6 days recovering from that. ~5000 PC’s, ~500 application servers and two SCCM primary servers had an Operating System Deployment (OSD) Standard Operating Environment (SOE) Windows XP image dumped on to them.
        No-one looks at, or uses, the cancel button these days.
        I resigned from HP that year as it destroyed my life, marriage and health!

      • Patrick,
        That bank story you linked to sounds like user error. Someone installed a patch to the whole system that was only supposed to be applied to a certain set of desktops.
        “According to sources, on Thursday last week a patch was issued using Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) remote deployment tool. It appears as if the patch was intended to be distributed to a number of the bank’s desktop PCs only, but it was mistakenly applied to a much wider swathe of the bank’s desktop and server fleet than was intended.”
        There’s no proof that is was Microsoft or HP’s problem/fault at all in the story. Patches like that don’t just automatically install themselves on corporate wide systems. They simply are not allowed to. And even manual install mistakes like that should NEVER happen if you have an experienced Senior Admin who refuses to let underling techies access the big stuff. Underlings should be completely locked out of that kind of thing for this very reason. Banking systems IT system managers are usually smart enough to schedule and announce all upgrade/install/revamps at a specific time on a specific date when “all hands are on deck” just in case something goes wrong. And everything is mirrored before it’s taken offline for any reason, first. Too much at stake when you’re in the financial market to apply any kind of “patch” willy nilly without a team meeting and a plan.
        Not saying it doesn’t happen. Just saying that something like what happened in the article you linked to could have (and should have) been prevented. Easily.

      • “Aphan says: February 4, 2016 at 12:54 pm”
        It was NOT a patch. That is BS in the story, because none of the reporters were at the coal face that day, or had any idea what was actually going on. I was there. The team I worked in supported the CBA (As well as ATO, AGIMO, SAG, BoQ and Tabcorp) with Unicenter, SCOM and SCCM systems management tools depending where the server were located (Datacentre or branch). It was a direct result of a clean up attempt after a DR test that day. CBA and HP were in “damage control mode” and many heads at HP roled because of the legal implications.
        The DR test consisted of 3 PC objects added by direct membership to a test SCCM collection and then run through the DR process. It was a complete success. The issue arose when my teammate tried to delete those objects from the SCCM console and they were not being removed. SMS was the product that preceeded SCCM and SMS is nicknamed “Slow Moving Software” for a reason. So, an SQL query was “found” (Likely via Google) and was executed on the SCCM central site server. That triggered an OSD advertisement on the All Systems collection. The rest is history. To this day even Microsoft could not explain what had likely happened.
        But you are right. It was user error…not deliberate…but in error all the same.

      • And just for claity, I was not involved in the actual DR test that day, I had far too much other work to do that day. I had also been fighting with my boss and HP HR about too many worked hours in a week (70 -90hr weeks over about two and half years. I even worked 110hrs one week) and on-call issues (Such as getting non-SCCM related queries at 3am). My teammate also was under similar pressure. The CBA environment was large, ~45000 PC’s. We were both burnt out!

  14. Aside from demonstrating that most systems can be broken into … I’m not quite clear as to their purpose.
    ‘RIPA’ had a purpose in releasing CRU documents. Not convinced that this hack achieves very much at all other than closing legitimate NASA access to those who might want it.
    I have always been really impressed by the openness of US Federal organisations when compared to their UK equivalents. I’m a UK resident and your US federal organisations are absolutely excellent in that they will happily give a ‘foreigner’ access to all manner of US taxpayer funded reports and information. I ask the NSA for an account and they give me one. I ask for an account with ‘The Dept of UK lollipop ladies’ and I’m told that I’m not qualified.
    Presumably my NSA/NASA… accounts will be closed by this time next week – Well done ‘hackers’.

    • Well, not necessarily, as there are additives, probably very toxic, that the military uses in jet engines to suppress contrails. But then, you wouldn’t be able to see the toxic material…..

    • These hackers are stupid dressed as smart.
      Chem trails??

      What I love is that the jets fly in…well..the Jet Stream. If you are going to spray estrogenic chemicals to sterilize a city or community, you wouldn’t spray it 30,000+ feet up. By spraying over Chicago you would hit Beijing. Crop dusters fly low for a reason.

      • Nobody sprays at 30,000 feet. Don’t you ever take the time to view your sky? The criss-cross grid they routinely lay down in my area is far lower than that.

        • “Nobody sprays at 30,000 feet. Don’t you ever take the time to view your sky? The criss-cross grid they routinely lay down in my area is far lower than that.”
          Are you talking about crop dusters or commercial airliners? Do you live in an area that lies in the flight paths of commercial airlines or close to an airport? Condensation trails can form much closer to the ground than 30,000 feet if the air is cold and moist enough. It’s all about the temperature of the air and the amount of water that will crystallize in it. If the air in your area is very cold and you’re close to an airport and either ascending or descending airplanes, you’ll see them all the time at lower altitudes.
          Crop dusters work as close to the ground as they get safely get in order to place the pesticides accurately. We’re talking 20 feet from the top of the crops in a no wind clear sky situation. And the pesticide is designed to drop quickly to the ground to minimize drift, it doesn’t stay in the air for long.
          If you’re seeing it higher than that, and it remains in the air, it’s not crop dusting or chemicals intended to reach the ground in a specific area. Completely ineffective (and expensive) and inaccurate to do anything that way.

  15. Many of the systems they encountered were configured to use the default password (the well known initial vendor password, created when the system is installed)

    This is beyond stupid, and yes this is the same organization charged with being stewards of the temperature record.

  16. The big question, is why do all systems have to be connected to the Internet? When I worked for the USGS, we had many instruments connected to our network (Gas Chromatographs, Mass Spectrometers, etc.) These instruments all required admin access to the PC to acquire data. Well, our IT Department wouldn’t have any of that, so they created a Local Area Network, that all the instruments were connected to, and that was that. Need the data on another PC. Use Sneakernet.

    • Many products require an internet connection for licensing, activation, support and updates. Back in the 90’s when the WWW kicked off, I said to my co-workers “This will become an issue.”

      • “Many products require an internet connection for licensing, activation, support and updates.”
        True, however, corporate accounts usually cannot be logged into off site, and if for some reason someone is granted off site access, they are given multiple password layers AND the network sends an alert when that person logs onto, and off of, the corporate network. Some companies change the password often, sometimes daily, and it requires an actual phone call to whomever is monitoring the system at the time (day and night) and personal verification of multiple criteria before that person is allowed to connect to the network via internet connection.
        (My husband does “internet security” work for a very large financial corporation. His favorite phrase is “90% sheer mind numbing boredom, 9% frustration and stress, and 1% complete and utter terror”. I’ve learned if/when he calls and says certain words to just say “I love you.” “I’ll miss you” and “Try not to kill anyone tonight”. ) grin

  17. If loony hackers can do it, then China, Iran, and Russia have done it too. I bet the reason it was so easy is because everyone is installing the OS (linux?) on their desktop, instead of an IT guru setting up a secure system and cloning it to all desktops.

    • Who said it was “easy”? And easy for professional hackers does not mean easy for anyone else. And trust me, in organizations as large and important as NASA, NO ONE…and I mean NO ONE….gets to “install” anything on their desktop personally. Period. And if they DO manage to do it, the network alerts the IT department head and someone either gets fired, or gets a new desktop in which management has to “approve” all future log ins by the employee.
      Trust me. In something that big, the IT department knows when ANYONE chats, skypes, plays a game, looks at porn, shops on Amazon, or sends a text message. No system is completely secure, but most of the important ones are “fool proof” because the fools only have limited access to certain things, and never everything at once.

  18. As always, the first question is: True or False?
    The second: Is it an outside job or an inside job?
    There seem to be motives for an inside job. Destroy records and blame hackers.
    Keep watching.

  19. Shouldn’t NASA have put up some fake stuff in case they were hacked, such as the warehouse that had the aliens? Then they could just arrest the hackers on site.

  20. NASA still uses punch cards. They don’t necessarily have the machines, but the software uses a file format that is made to look like punch cards, to maintain legacy code.

  21. I was shocked circa 1999 when I received a Word macro virus from a document placed on a NASA server by an industry committee member. (I forget whether the member was a NASA employee or NASA had kindly given the committee some space on a server, likely an ARINC AEEC or RTCA committee.)
    (Didn’t help that setup of my computer by my employer had somehow managed to turn some security checking off, and that I didn’t watch the boot progress display which flagged that but did not halt boot as some error messages do. My usual practice is to turn computer on first thing on arrival, then unpack anything I brought in, then get a cup of coffee, all to let Windows boot completely as I’ve found AV SW was McAfee which had its faults then, OS probably Win98SE which scrolled lines on the screen as later Windows versions do if booting in Safe Mode.)

  22. They didn’t get into the USCRN data, so we’re good to go. Just have to switch from poorly sited, collected, adjusted data to REAL data. Good time and motivation to make the switch.

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