Romanian accused of hacking NASA-JPL computers

February 8, 2012

(AP) -- The Los Angeles U.S. attorney's office says a federal grand jury has indicted a Romanian citizen on charges he hacked into 25 climate-research computers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Prosecutors say Tuesday's indictment charges 25-year-old Robert Butyka with one count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer.

The hacking in 2010 made computers in the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Program unusable for two months while was removed and data restored.

The U.S. attorney's office says worked with Romanian authorities, resulting in Butyka's conviction in Romania last month. He's been sentenced to three years in prison there and would face a 10-year term if convicted in the U.S.

Damage from the hacking is estimated at $500,000, including costs of work on the computers and lost research time.

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