According to a report by the US National Science Foundation's National Optical Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, or NOIRLab, a cybersecurity incident occurred on August 1, causing the world's most modern telescope, the The Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii and the Gemini South Telescope in Chile stopped operating. In addition, the attack also affected other smaller telescopes in Chile.
Currently, competent authorities and relevant parties are still unclear about the origin and nature of these cyber attacks. Therefore, they will be cautious about the information they share about intrusions.
NOIRLab said it is working with cybersecurity experts to get all affected telescopes and the website back online as soon as possible.
Just days before the cyber attack on NOIRLab facilities, the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) issued an advisory bulletin for space companies and research organizations. US research into foreign spies and hackers has identified the US commercial space industry and space-related assets as a potential threat.
This is not the first time hackers have targeted US astronomical observatories. In October 2022, the operations of the ALMA telescope in Chile were interrupted because of a hacker attack. NASA has also been a victim of cyberattacks over the years.