LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A Romanian citizen has been indicted on federal charges of hacking into NASA computers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, causing more than $500,000 in damage.
The one-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury Tuesday and accuses 25-year-old Robert Butyka with unauthorized impairment of a protected computer. Butyka, who uses the moniker “Iceman,” allegedly hacked into 25 NASA computers at JPL in December 2010.READ MORE: Chris Rock Announces COVID-19 Diagnosis: 'Trust Me, You Don't Want This'
The computers were part of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Program, which is used to support climate research and improve weather forecasting.READ MORE: 2 Killed In Overnight Crash In Rialto; Probe Underway
The hacking impaired the computers for more than two months while NASA removed the malicious code, restored data and took steps to prevent further access by hackers. The $500,000 in damages includes the costs of completing the work on the computers and time lost to scientific researchers.MORE NEWS: 1 Killed In Wrong-Way Crash In San Bernardino
If Butyka is convicted, he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in a federal prison.