Hackers Try to Suck the Earth Into Black Hole

If there weren't already enough problems at the European Organization for Nuclear Research — angry calls & letters, protests, panic, even death threats — surrounding the Large Hadron Collider — in addition, that is, to the chief problem of making the device work — there certainly are now, as a new and particularly frightening problem has arisen: hackers.

One might presume that the LHC would be a pretty hard target to hit. After all, it's being run by an international coalition, security is already on high alert due to the frenzy surrounding the possibility of sparking Armageddon, and, of course, it runs Linux. None of that seems to have deterred a group of hackers calling themselves the "Geek Security Team," as the group managed to hack the machine last Wednesday as the first beams were circulating. The hackers gained access to one of the computer systems operating the Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment, a massive magnet that serves as one of the detectors analyzing the LHC's activities, and modified a web page with a message in Greek ending ""We are 2600 - dont [sic] mess with us."

According to scientists, had they penetrated one level further, they would have gained sufficient access to turn off parts of the CMS detector. We don't know about anyone else, but it worries us just a tad that: a) hackers got into this thing, b) that the scientists who told us the LHC wouldn't suck us all into a black hole didn't know it could be hacked, and c) that the end of the world could be the result of restless script kiddies. We always thought it'd be the Vogons.


Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.

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