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Anonymous hackers may be targeting Mars rover, says security firm

August 13, 2012 9:03pm
Could this be the cyberworld's equivalent of one small step for a hacker, one giant leap for hackerkind?
 
A cybersecurity firm claimed to have spotted an Internet relay chat (IRC) message seeking help to hack into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Mars Science Laboratory Mission, Examiner.com reported.
 
"(A)ssuming that this is in fact an Anonymous member, and not a law enforcement spoof, the very fact that they are even thinking of this sort of hack is somewhat frightening," it said.
 
NASA's Mars mission gained worldwide attention recently after its rover, "Curiosity," land on the red planet.
 
Examiner.com quoted New York-based Flashpoint Partners as saying it spotted the message by user "MarsCuriosity" on the AnonOps IRC channel on Thursday.
 
"MarsCuriosity: Anyone in Madrid, Spain or Canbarra who can help isolate the huge control signal used for the Mars Odyssey / Curiosity system please? The cypher and hopping is a standard mode, just need base frequency and recordings/feed of the huge signal going out. (yes we can spoof it both directions!)" read the message on the AnonOps IRC channel, as quoted by the cybersecurity firm.
 
Flashpoint Partners sent the message in its alert to its clients later that day, Examiner.com reported.
 
AnonOps IRC is one of the Anonymous-related IRC channels that Flashpoint monitors.
 
Anonymous is a loose collective of hackers that had been linked to various hacking incidents in past years.
 
But Examiner.com said this does not necesarily mean "anything will come of it."
 
"It's possible, in fact, the message was faked by a member of law enforcement," it added.
 
Examiner.com questioned if anyone besides a government actor would be able to pull off such a hack.
 
"Just think about the technology necessary to reach the Red Planet with a signal to hack Curiosity. It would seem to be beyond Anonymous," it said. — TJD, GMA News
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