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.