Feeds

Wrecking CRU: hackers cause massive climate data breach

Secretive scientists' source code goes walkabout

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The University of East Anglia has confirmed that a data breach has put a large quantity of emails and other documents from staff at its Climate Research Unit online. CRU is one of the three leading climate research centres in the UK, and a globally acknowledged authority on temperature reconstructions.

CRU declined to say whether it would attempt to halt the data breach. In a statement a spokesman told us:

We are aware that information from a server used for research information in one area of the university has been made available on public websites. Because of the volume of this information we cannot currently confirm that all of this material is genuine.

A 61MB ZIP file was posted on a Russian FTP server late last night, local time. It contains over a thousand emails, and around three thousand other items including source code and data files. Emails are peppered with disparaging remarks and a crude cartoon of sceptical scientists is also included in the archive - suggesting the hacker roamed wide across the University's servers.

A spokesman confirmed there had been a hack, and that staff documents had been published, but declined to say whether the University would be seeking to halt further dissemination of the data.

This information has been obtained and published without our permission and we took immediate action to remove the server in question from operation. We are undertaking a thorough internal investigation and we have involved the police in this enquiry.

CRU has been the centre of controversy for its roles in creating global temperature reconstructions, and maintaining the archive of temperature data. Recent temperature reconstructions characterise post 1980 temperatures as unprecedentedly warm, and downplay historical periods of warm weather. This is the so called "Hockey Stick" controversy, and many (but far from all) of these reconstructions involve key CRU staff.

In August, Phil Jones admitted CRU had failed to keep the raw data, which would permit outside parties to create their own temperature reconstructions. More recently, CRU dendroclimatologist Keith Briffa defended his sampling methodology which saw the inclusion of one tree core from the Yamal Peninsula create a Hockey Stick shaped graph, dubbed the "hottest tree in the world".

The documents also appear to highlight a chummy relationship between sympathetic journalists - particularly the New York Times Andrew Revkin - and activist scientists.

They're being discussed at Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit here - but there's no reaction yet at the blog frequented by the participants of "Hockey Team", as they have styled themselves, RealClimate.

It would be premature to comment further on the contents of the archive without establishing its authenticity. Some emails contain curious idioms and spelling - but perhaps that's what years of dendroclimatology do to the brain.

®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.