Five years since the original NASA hacking incident, the Italian police have finally identified the man behind the cyber-security breach.
A 25-year-old man, identified by his initials Z.R. pleaded guilty for hacking 60 Italian government websites in 2013, including the one belonging to NASA. Allegedly, he used to be a member of the Master Italian Hackers Team.
The Italian police were able to catch onto his actions since he was careless enough to boast about having been a part of the notorious hacking team on social media. According to them, he was one of the leading members.
During the investigation, the police seized several computer devices, the content of which allowed the police to charge this man. Later on, he admitted to defacing at least 8 subdomains belonging to NASA and 60+ Italian government websites.
Somewhere along the end of the 2000s and early 2010s, the practice of defacing websites was fairly common among amateur hackers. Since most websites have much better cyber-security defenses in place nowadays, the practice is not so common anymore. Plus, the hacking community often mocks fellow members who engage in such activities.
In any case, the members of Master Italian Hackers Team claim to have stolen databases from the hacked websites and leaked them on the internet as well. The police report, however, does not mention this.
The Italian police began their investigations in 2015. According to the investigators, they were able to identify the suspects in 2016.