Phoenix Mars Lander Web site hacked

By | June 3, 2008

The Web site for the Phoenix Mars Lander mission was hacked over the weekend with readers of the main news article redirected to an overseas Web site, a spokeswoman for the mission said on Monday.

Someone was able to access the site Friday night and change the “read more” link to connect to an outside site that was in a foreign language, said Sara Hammond, spokeswoman for the mission being led by the University of Arizona. She was not sure what language it was.

Several hours later another attempt to hack the site was made and site administrators took the site down for nine hours to fix the problem, she said. The site was back up on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re taking the appropriate steps to identify who it is, and we’ve improved our security on the site,” she said.

The Phoenix Mars Lander vehicle touched down on Sunday and will use a robotic arm to dig through the ground and bring back soil and water samples for analysis. The goal is to study the history of water in the Martian arctic and search for evidence of a habitable zone. – cn

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