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16 Years Old And Infiltrating NASA

The Fifteen Greatest Hacking Exploits
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After the Army and the Pentagon, any hacker worthy of the name dreams about getting into NASA's servers, the protection of which is renowned. It was in 1999 that a young hacker with the nickname of c0mrade, better known as Jonathan James, accomplished this exploit at the age of 16.

On June 29 and 30, 1999, this young hacker made a mess of NASA using a simple Pentium computer. He gained access by breaking the password of a server belonging to the government agency located in Alabama. He was able to freely roam the network, and stole several files, including the source code of the International Space Station.

Panic at NASA

According to NASA, the value of the documents stolen by James was estimated at around $1.7 million. To stop the attack, NASA was forced to turn off its systems and reboot them, incurring a loss of $41,000. The capture of the young hacker was fast, with NASA doing everything it could to find him.

However, his young age allowed James to avoid prison. A few lawyers estimated that, had he been an adult at the time, he would have spent at least ten years in prison for stealing documents classified as "defense secrets". Jonathan James, on the other hand, was satisfied with a bit of irony by saying "The code itself sucked... it was not worth the $1.7 million they said".

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