LHC Computer Hacked
So it's understandable that a project of this magnitude would receive lots of attention--especially one of the more public of the experiments, the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Experiment, which is "one of the four 'eyes' of the facility that will be analysing the fallout of the Big Bang." In fact, James Gillies, a spokesman for Cern, commented that Cern received a staggering 1.4 million e-mails yesterday--of which 98 percent of them were spam. This is on top of the e-mail, telephone, and mail death threats that some of the 2,000 scientists at the LHC have received.
| Source: Telegraph.co.uk|
"Scientists working at Cern, the organisation that runs the vast smasher, were worried about what the hackers could do because they were 'one step away' from the computer control system of one of the huge detectors of the machine, a vast magnet that weighs 12,500 tons, measuring around 21 metres in length and 15 metres wide/high.
If they had hacked into a second computer network, they could have turned off parts of the vast detector and, said the insider, it is hard enough to make these things work if no one is messing with it'."
As far as the CMS researchers can tell, only "one file was damaged" and only about "half a dozen files [were] uploaded." The current assumption is that the purpose of the attack was just to make "the point that CMS was hackable."
It appears that none of the experiments were adversely impacted by the security breach. But with "more than 110 different control systems" in place that run everything from building heating to radiation protection to the particle accelerators themselves, the idea of a security breach can seem frightening. Cern's own Computing and Network Infrastructure for Controls group had previously produced a document that said, "recent events show that computer security issues are becoming a serious problem also at Cern." The team refused to comment, however, on this week's security breach.