Swedish Hacker Indicted for Attacking Cisco, NASA

By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2009-05-06 Print this article Print

A convicted Swedish hacker stands accused of cracking the security of NASA and Cisco in 2004. After a federal investigation, the 21-year-old man now faces multiple charges here in the United States.

A 21-year-old Swedish national was hit with a five-count indictment accusing him of hacking Cisco Systems and NASA in 2004.

Philip Gabriel Pettersson, aka "Stakkato," was indicted May 5 on intrusion and trade secret theft charges after allegedly swiping Cisco Interwork Operating System code from the networking giant and then breaking into computers at the Ames Research Center and the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division, located at Moffett Field, Calif.

The five-count indictment was announced by the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello for the Northern District of California. However, there are reports that officials in Sweden may try to prosecute Pettersson there.

According to the allegations in the DOJ indictment, Pettersson intentionally hacked into the Cisco computer system between May 12, 2004, and May 13, 2004, and stole some Cisco Internetwork Operating System code. Roughly a week later between May 19 and May 20, he allegedly hacked into NASA. He is also accused of doing it again Oct. 22, 2004.

According to reports, Pettersson was convicted in 2007 for hacking into the networks of multiple Swedish universities and ordered to pay $25,000 in damages.

According to the DOJ, Cisco and NASA cooperated in the government's investigation. Following the incident, Cisco reported that it did not believe that any customer information, partner information or financial systems were affected, officials said.

The Department of Justice will continue to work cooperatively with the Swedish authorities on the case.

The maximum penalty for each charge of intrusion and theft of trade secrets is 10 years in prison, a three-year term of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.


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