Boston man charged with hacking NASA, DLA computers

Boston man charged with hacking NASA, DLA computers

FEB. 24—Federal prosecutors yesterday charged a 28-year-old Boston man with breaking into and misusing computer systems run by NASA and the Defense Logistics Agency.

The attacks occurred between April and August last year. Prosecutors allege that Ikenna Iffih, a student at Northeastern University's College of Computer Sciences, gained unauthorized access to a corporate Internet account and used it to launch attacks from his home computer.

Donald K. Stern, U.S. attorney for the district of Massachusetts, said the attacker damaged communications, intercepted login names and passwords and, in the case of a NASA computer, used the computer to launch attacks on other sites, including one at the Interior Department. "All in all, the defendant used his home computer to leave a trail of cybercrime from coast to coast," Stern said.

Iffih's alleged spree began last April, when, prosecutors said, he used the stolen corporate Internet account to gain access to a DLA computer, damaging communications. Using a Telnet proxy to present his address as being at DLA, he then accessed the Web site of Zebra Marketing Online Services in Washington state and caused significant damage, prosecutors said.

In May, according to the charges against Iffih, he gained control of a NASA computer research project Web server in Maryland, allowing him to read, delete and modify files. The server did not contain classified or sensitive information, prosecutors said. But Iffih allegedly planted a "sniffer" program to collect login names and passwords, and used the computer for other attacks, including one in which he defaced Interior's Web page. His use of the NASA computer continued until August.

Iffih is charged with three federal counts in connection with the unauthorized access and misuse of the computers. He faces up to 10 years in jail and $250,000 in fines if convicted.

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