Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hackers infiltrate LHC systems. So does the Grid exist?

For months CERN has been advertising the Grid as the future successor to the internet to counter a lawsuit from physicist Walter Wagner to stop experiments at the Large Hadron Collider until a proper investigation of it's safety was performed. Everytime news networks mentioned Wagner's lawsuit in the past, they would follow it up with CERN's Grid which suppose to securely share it's data from the Large Hadron Collider's (LHC) collisions worldwide with other physicists. Turns out, this Grid uses the internet which is 10,000 slower to help share it's data, meaning it's not a secure network like they stated for months, to which hackers came close to shutting down one of their detectors, leaving a warning on CERN's website - - which is now closed to the public to avoid further embarrassment.

From the
Scientists working at Cern, the organisation that runs the vast smasher, were worried about what the hackers could do because they were "one step away" from the computer control system of one of the huge detectors of the machine, a vast magnet that weighs 12,500 tons, measuring around 21 metres in length and 15 metres wide/high.

If they had hacked into a second computer network, they could have turned off parts of the vast detector and, said the insider, "it is hard enough to make these things work if no one is messing with it."

From CERN Insider:
"Questions have been raised at CERN as to why it's systems are accessible via the web. Personally I thought all was secure since we've been told scientists around the world would be viewing our data using the Grid. Guess anyone can lay down cables and trick the lower rank into believing there's a secure network."

But hey, CERN still has the cosmic ray line to counter Wagner's black hole warnings. Just one problem, you don't need to be a physicist to know that cosmic rays are hitting stationary Earth particles, but for some strange reason CERN compares that to collisions at the LHC where nothing is stationary.

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