Chile’s ALMA observatory hit by cyberattack

(ORDO NEWS) — The ALMA space telescope in the Chilean Andes suffered a cyberattack over the weekend that took its website down and suspended operations, the observatory announced on Wednesday.

ALMA is the world’s most powerful molecular gas and dust telescope. Saturday’s attack on computer systems did not jeopardize the operation of powerful antennas or any scientific data.

However, the cyberattack forced the suspension of astronomical observations, left the observatory with limited email services, and its website was still down four days later.

“The threat has been contained, and our specialists are working hard to restore the affected systems,” representatives of the observatory said on social networks.

“Given the nature of the episode, it is not yet possible to give a date for returning to normal activities.”

The ALMA telescope boasts 66 high-precision antennas located at distances of up to 16 kilometers, which allow it to detect distant forming galaxies.

The telescope is built in one of the driest places on Earth, the Atacama Desert, at an altitude of more than 5,000 meters above sea level.

In April, ALMA found the most distant candidate galaxy known to date, about 13.5 billion light-years from Earth.

ALMA employs about 300 people, and 40 of them are engineers and computer technicians responsible for its computers, servers, storage systems and screens.

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