Greek hackers breach CERN security

Hackers managed to breach the network defences of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) and got into the Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment, one of the four detectors that will be analysing the progress of the largest physics experiment ever undertaken.

The Greek hacking team are said to have come within one level of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and left a rogue webpage reading "GST: Greek Security Team. We are 2600 - don't mess with us". The webpage also mocked the technicians responsible for computer security at the giant atom smasher, referring to them as "schoolkids".

James Gillies, a spokesman for CERN told the Daily Telegraph, "There seems to be no harm done. From what they can tell, it was someone making the point that it was hackable."

Indeed, the hackers vowed they had no intention of disrupting the experiment at CERN on the Swiss-French border, they just wanted to highlight the flaws in the computer system's security, a point reinforced by the rest of the message left on the hacked webpage which read "We're pulling your pants down because we don't want to see you running around naked looking to hide yourselves when the panic comes."

"It was quickly detected," Mr Gillies added. "We have several layers of network, a general access network and a much tighter network for sensitive things that operate the LHC."

The hackers were described as "one step away" from the computer control system of one of the huge detectors of the LHC, a vast magnet that weighs 12,500, measuring about 21 metres in length and 15 metres wide.

One of the scientists working on the machine commented, "We think that someone from Fermilab's Tevatron (the competing atom smasher in America) had their access details compromised."

"What happened wasn't a big deal. It just goes to show that people are out there always on the prowl."

While the attack on the CERN website does not appear to be serious, many have suggested that the implications are. Questions concerning the safety of the LHC, which is hoped to recreate the conditions just moments after the Big Bang, have been present in the media and courts since the experiment began. The recent hacking of the CERN website has done nothing to pacify those who are worried about the possible ramifications of more hackers getting into the website.

CERN said that the centre had been deluged with calls and emails from members of the public, worried that the LHC would destroy the planet by creating a black hole, despite such claims being checked and rejected.