Hacker Arrested for Causing $500,000 Worth of Damage to NASA

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Lucas Jackson / REUTERS

How much damage can one man cause the National Aeronautics and Space Administration? If the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism’s charges against the newly arrested Robert Butyka are to be believed, the answer to that is “somewhere over half a million dollars’ worth.”

The 26-year-old Butyka, described as “an unemployed self-taught hacker” by Romanian authorities, is being charged with multiple hacks into NASA’s computer systems, starting in December of last year, that have caused more than $500,000 in damage through what is being called “introduction, modification and damage to computer data, and restricted access to data.”

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Butyka is the second Romanian hacker to have targeted NASA this year; in May, a hacker known as TinKode claimed to have classified data from NASA servers at the Goddard Space Flight Center, attempting to prove it by releasing screen shots from NASA’s SERVIR Earth observation program.

Butyka is expected to make a court appearance shortly to see if his pre-trial detention will be extended past its initial 24 hour period.

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Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.