Romanian charged with hacking U.S. computers

A Romanian computer hacker was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles for hacking into more than 150 government computers, including systems at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center, the Energy Department's Sandia National Laboratory and the U.S. Naval Observatory.

The 10-count indictment charges Victor Faur of Arad, Romania, with being the leader of a hacking group called the WhiteHat Team, whose primary purpose was to hack into U.S. government computers.

The indictment alleges Faur and his team used the compromised computers to host 'chat rooms' where team members could communicate. The hackers also searched the computers for passwords that could be used to gain access to other systems.

The compromised systems were used to collect and process data from spacecraft, both in Earth orbit and in deep space, to evaluate new scientific technologies, and to collect, store and analyze other scientific data.

The U.S. Attorney's Office stated that NASA lost approximately $1.3 million in data and costs incurred rebuilding the affected computers, while Energy and the Navy together lost about $100,000.

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