A 26-year old Romanian hacker has been arrested for damaging computer systems at NASA, according to a release from the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT). Robert Butyka is charged with breaking into an unspecified number of servers at NASA starting in December of 2010.
NASA has become something of a reputation-building target for Romanian hackers. In an unrelated security breach in May of this year, another Romanian hacker claimed to have stolen classified satellite data from servers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. That hacker, who calls himself TinKode, posted screen shots from an FTP server related to NASA’s SERVIR Earth observation program, which provides data to relief agencies and other humanitarian organizations. And in 2008, another Romanian, Victor Faur, was convicted in Romania of hacking NASA and US Navy sites in 2005 and 2006. He avoided jail time, but was fined $238,000 to compensate the US for damages.
Romania has no extradition treaty, so the case is being brought against Butyka under Romania’s own anti-hacking laws. According to a report from Lucian Constantin of IDG News Service, Butyka is an unemployed self-taught hacker who went by the online name of “Iceman,” and a resident of the western Romanian city of Cluj. He’s being held for 24 hours with a court hearing pending to determine if his pretrial detention will be extended. DIICOT alleges that he caused over $500,000 in damage to NASA systems through “introduction, modification and damage to computer data, and restricting access to data.”