Robert Butyka, a 26-year old Romanian man accused of hacking into multiple NASA servers, received a three-year suspended prison sentence after admitting his guilt.
Butyka was arrested by prosecutors from the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) on November 15, in his home city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
He was charged with obtaining unauthorised access to a computer system, modifying damaging and restricting access to data without authorisation and possessing hacking programs.
During the first trial hearing on January 10, Butyka admitted that he hacked into several NASA servers over an extended period of time that started in December 12, 2010. However, his legal defence team challenged NASA's damage claims of $580,000.
According to local media reports, the Cluj-Napoca Court sentenced Butyka on January 17 to three-year of suspended prison time with a probation period of seven years. The sentence can be appealed in the next 10 days.
The judge also decided to form a separate case around NASA's damage claims that will be tried in a civil court. The trial date was set for March 13 to allow the US government agency to prepare its evidence.
Robert Butyka was released after spending the last two months in pre-trial detention. According to prosecutors, he has no higher education and was unemployed at the time of his arrest.
Butyka's case is similar to that of another Romanian NASA hacker named Victor Faur, who received a 16-month suspended prison sentence in November 2008. Faur is currently appealing a court verdict ordering him to pay damages of $240,000 to the US government.