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Hackers break into Large Hadron Collider computer

CERN says hackers accessed a computer system that monitors the particle accelerator experiments and analyzes data, according to a newspaper report.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills

Hackers broke into a computer system at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, targeting a system that was "one step away" from a control computer, but otherwise appear to have done no major damage, according to a report on Friday in the British newspaper The Telegraph.

The system that was breached monitors the Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment, which will be analyzing data during subatomic particle collisions in the particle accelerator located along the French-Swiss border. Experiments, which began on Wednesday, are designed to help scientists explore particle physics theories.

During the attack on Tuesday and Wednesday, hackers left behind half a dozen files, damaged one CERN file, and displayed a Web page with the headline "GST: Greek Security Team," signing off: "We are 2600--don't mess with us," (sic) CERN scientists told the newspaper.

As a result of the attack, the Web site--cmsmon.cern.ch--was not accessible on Friday.

Fears that the experiments could prompt natural disasters or black holes that would swallow Earth have led to threatening phone calls and e-mails, CERN said.

(Via Graham Cluley's blog at Sophos.)