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Romanian 'Ice Man' indicted for hacking NASA's JPL computers

A Romanian man who used the moniker "Ice Man" has been indicted for hacking into computers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Robert Butyka, 25, is accused of hacking into 25 computers at JPL in La Cañada Flintridge in December 2010. The hack caused more than $500,000 in damage and took two months for officials to remove the code Butyka implanted. He was indicted Tuesday.

"My impression is that he didn't steal anything," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Erik Silber. "He created ways to get back into the system and used the computers to launch attacks on other computers."

Butyka, who used the hacking handle "Ice Man," was not employed by NASA and had no affiliation with the administration, Silber said, and there was no reason for him to have access to the computers in the first place.

As a result of a joint U.S.-Romanian probe, Romanian authorities arrested Butyka. He was convicted and sentenced there to three years in prison for the hacking crimes, which he committed in that country.

If convicted on the U.S. charges, he faces up to 10 more years in prison.

The indictment "sends an important message that the United States takes these cases seriously and that we will go after people who commit these types of crime," Silber said.

The charge also limits Butyka's ability to come to the United States.

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-- Dalina Castellanos

 
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