In a retaliation attempt gone wrong, Brazilian hackers tapped into the online network of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) — but they were aiming for the National Security Agency (NSA).
The hacking was supposed to be revenge for U.S. spying, discovered after documents (leaked by Edward Snowden) revealed that the NSA had tapped into Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's email account. The NSA also spied on state-run power company Petrobras.
According Brazilian news source Uol, "Some activists decided to protest this U.S. practice but it seems that they picked the wrong target. They hacked NASA's web page and left the message: ‘Stop spying on us.’"
Hackers also left a note advising the United States not to take military action in Syria.
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NASA has confirmed a breach of security, and reported that a Brazilian group posted a message on multiple NASA-run sites. However, they claim that the hackers did not access any sensitive information.
Said NASA spokesperson Allard Beutel, "At no point were any of the agency's primary websites, missions or classified systems compromised. We are diligently taking action to investigate and reconstitute the websites impacted during the web defacement incident.”
Brazilians have openly expressed dusgust over U.S. spying, and are now campaigning tech companies such as Facebook and Google to store their data locally rather than internationally in an effort to maintain privacy.
"Data centers are in various parts of the world. We do not want all of them to be based in Brazil, but yes we do want data storage centers here," said Virgilio Almeida, leader of the Internet oversight committee in Brazil, "Naturally this can occur with tax incentives, purchase policies, but this is something that the government wants to keep in the country."
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With more than 200 million residents, Brazil is one of the largest markets for social media.