Suspect arrested in NASA hack

A man charged with hacking into government computers is being held in a

federal jail in Los Angeles.

Jason Diekman, a 20-year-old resident of Mission Viejo, Calif., is being

charged in hacking incidents involving NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

and computers at Stanford, Harvard and Cornell universities.

The complaint against Diekman includes charges that he used the JPL's

computers to intercept electronic communication. He allegedly had access

to the NASA systems that control a number of NASA satellites.

He also is charged with causing more than $17,000 in damage to Stanford

computers, intercepting log-in names and passwords from Harvard computers,

and possessing nearly 500 stolen credit card numbers.

Diekman, who used the online aliases "Shadow Knight" and "Dark Lord,"

is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 2.

If convicted for hacking, Diekman could face as many as 26 years in

prison, as well as fines up to $750,000.

Diekman's arrest came just one day after a 16-year-old Miami hacker

pleaded guilty to illegally accessing government computers and agreed to

serve jail time.

These incidents have focused attention, once again, on the security

of the Internet.

There are only three or four techniques used in most hacks, said Alan

Paller, the director of research for the Systems Administration, Networking,

and Security Institute, in Bethesda, Md.

These techniques exploit security holes in common software. One vulnerability,

Paller said, is found in 21 percent of all name servers on the Internet

(the computers that translate IP addresses into URLs). The second, a flaw

in the Apache Web server, is found in 65 percent of all Web servers, according

to Paller.

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