A screenshot from the hackers shows their intended flight path, which they say was cut short after drone pilots on the ground likely noticed the aircraft’s unusual behavior, forcing NASA to restore manual control.
Members of the AnonSec hacking group have released more than 276GB of data after allegedly spending months inside NASA’s internal network.
The collection of files, provided to Infowars by AnonSec admin Dêfãult Vírüsa prior to being made public Sunday, include 631 videos from aircraft and weather radars, 2,143 flight logs as well as the names, email addresses and phone numbers of 2,414 NASA employees.
A “zine,” or self-published paper detailing the hack, dubbed “OpNasaDrones,” reveals everything from AnonSec’s motives to the specific technical vulnerabilities that enabled the extensive breach.
“NASA has been breached more times than most people can honestly remember… However, this hack into NASA wasn’t initially focused on drones [sic] data and upper atmosphere chemical samples. In fact the original breach into NASA systems wasn’t even planned, it was caught up in a gozi virus spread,” the hackers write, referring to an infamous Trojan that has infected more than 1 million computers to date.
After purchasing an “initial foothold” from a hacker with knowledge of NASA servers over two years ago, the group says it began testing how many machines it could “break into” and “root” – a term referring to an account with complete control over a computer or network.
Brute forcing an administrator’s SSH password, which reportedly only took “0.32” seconds due to the credentials being left as default, AnonSec gained further access inside – allowing them to grab even more login data with a hidden packet sniffer (tcpdump).
The hackers say while some members mapped the network, others analyzed the “different missions, airbases and aircraft” listed by the agency. Public missions like “OIB – Operation Ice Bridge” and drones such as the “Global Hawk“ were among those mentioned.
Deleting records of their presence as they hacked deeper into the agency’s system, AnonSec, who even hacked security cameras and uncovered the schematics to one base’s camera layout, then infiltrated the networks at “Glenn Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center and Dryden Flight Research Center.”
Once inside, the group says it began noticing numerous systems and networked devices “popping up in scans that were not previously visible…”
After sniffing a password belonging to the system administrator, the hackers say they were eventually able to gain full root access to three network-attached storage (NAS) devices tasked with compiling backups of aircraft flight logs.
“Now we had all 3 NAS devices automatically making copies of the logs as they are uploaded from the drones and renaming them to look like semi ordinary index files,” the group writes, mocking the system administrator responsible for protecting the data.
Hackers Attempt to Crash Drone into Pacific Ocean
As the information began flowing unsuspectingly to an AnonSec-controlled server outside of the NASA network, analysis of the data yielded what the hackers described as “weird traffic.”
According to the group, the traffic consisted of “pre-planned route option” files which allow NASA to upload specific flight paths prior to take off.
After protest from several hackers, the group says it decided to carry out a man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attack several months later that replaced the drone route file with one of their own in an attempt to crash the aircraft into the ocean.
“Several members were in disagreement on this because if it worked, we would be labeled terrorists for possibly crashing a $222.7 million US Drone… but we continued anyways lol,” the zine states.