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Royal Navy hacker claims to have broken into space agency site

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Login credentials for database, email and other key systems that a poster claims belong to the European Space Agency were posted on a full disclosure mailing list over the weekend.

TinKode posted supposed admin, content management, file upload (FTP), email and other account login details after using unspecified vulnerabilities to pull off his alleged hack on ESA's systems. He also posted Apache server configuration files and other data that, if genuine, might be of use in follow-up attacks.

The motives for the assault are unclear.

Net security firm Sophos was unable to verify the hack, not least because trying any of the published passwords to see if they worked or not would itself be a violation of UK's computer misuse laws. However it described TinKode's claims as credible.

TinKode had previously carried out a similar assault on the Royal Navy's official website. That attack was later confirmed.

ESA's main website (esa.int) remains up and running on Monday morning. No one from the agency was available for comment at the time of going to press.

"Hopefully the ESA is changing its passwords and looking at its website security as a matter of some urgency," a Sophos spokesman said. "If users are using the same password in multiple places then they would be wise to adopt a more sensible password policy ASAP." ®

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