Hackers attack Stanford accelerator
Jun 12, 1998
Internet access to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California was shut down for a week after hackers gained access to over 30 computers at the laboratory. Over 2000 users were denied access to SLAC, one of the world's leading particle physics labs, during the break-in. A similar attack closed down Internet access to SLAC in 1995.
The hacker or hackers managed to gain password access to SLAC by intercepting the username and password of a registered user accessing data inside SLAC's firewall. The random behaviour of the hackers inside the SLAC network suggests that they were trying to gain access to other government and university servers rather than access SLAC data.
"They covered their tracks very well, we have no idea who they were, " said Patricia Anne Moore, a spokesperson for SLAC. Moore believes that the lab was "very fortunate" that no experimental data or programs appear to have been altered. "The potential damage we could have suffered was enormous" she said. During the shutdown an ISDN line was set-up so that some files could be down-loaded for users. The lab is now investigating a longer term solution for such problems.