LHC Computer Hacked

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been collecting lots of headlines this week as it finally ramped up to full speed. It has garnered attention for the massively sized experiments it will undertake (simulating conditions of the Big Bang), the questions its experiments will seek to answer (find the "God" particle), the cost of the project ($7.9 Billion), and even the fear that the LHC itself could create a black hole that would swallow up the Earth (it didn't... at least not yet).

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
It turns out that the LHC has also received some additional unwanted attention: One of the computers associated with the CMS Experiment was hacked by what appears to be a Greek hacker group. The group altered a page on the public CMS site. The page was in Greek, had the headline "GST: Greek Security Team" and the page also said, "We are 2600 - dont mess with us. (sic)" The page, cmsmon.cern.ch, is not currently available.

"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.
Tags:  LHC, computer, Hack, hacked, AC, COM, K
NewYorkDan 6 years ago

Uh oh... Maybe we do need to worry: http://www.cyriak.co.uk/lhc/lhc-webcams.html

squid267 6 years ago

ouch! this jsut put a big whole in their security. I think more people will use this as a excuse saying if they cant keep a website safe they they prolly cant keep the world safe either. not saying thats what i think just anticipating others.

Lev_Astov 6 years ago

Here's an idea: Don't connect your critical system controlling computers to the internet.

thebirdman47 6 years ago

I'll bet they were using the free version of the Zone Alarm firewall! Nah....probably the MS firewall that came with their puter.

ryan92084 6 years ago

seriously .. how hard is it to set up a seperate lan for the controlls

amdcrankitup 6 years ago

Hacking into something of this magnitude,Makes you feel all warm and cozy when you consider our missle defense sites.

mazuki 6 years ago

it's not hard to setup a seperate lan, but if they are connected, you have a possibility of getting on lan 2 from lan 1 because lan 1 is not-secure, or on the net

rapid1 6 years ago

Great some hacker is going to make a miniature black whole in our universe messing with this thing. Obviously they need some net security. I as others have said don't know why the controls need to even have any connection to the net. Lets hope they don't go to whoever organized the black hat conventions. There main topic this last convention was about trojans embedded in pictures which has been easy to do for a decade. So they seem to be a little behind the times. If I can do it anyone can as I have absolutely no knowledge on writing software. All it takes is a simple download all business also run a usage tracker on there network. Thats how they bust people going to porn sites on the work computers. Anyway enough said but someone working on something at this magnitude doesn't need to be taking it lightly thats for sure.

ryan92084 6 years ago

correction a seperate lan entirely disconnted from any WAN

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