Two U.S. satellites hacked multiple times, report says

A report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission released today says that on two separate occasions, hackers managed to take over U.S. satellites in 2008.

The first satellite hacking listed in the report was of NASA’s Terra Eos satellite in June of 2008. The report says that the breach allowed hackers to issue commands to the satellites, but NASA wasn’t able to find any evidence of the satellite receiving any commands from the hackers.

The satellite was hacked again in October of 2008, and again hackers managed to have full access to the satellite, but no commands were issued in that instance either. The report says that the Landsat-7 satellite, operated by the U.S. Geological Survey, was also hacked in 2007 and 2008, but in neither cases did hackers have command-level access.

The report says that the hackers responsible for the satellite hacks haven’t been found, but the report goes on to note that the attacks must have been from a nation of power, and Chinese military documents referenced attacks on ground-based space communications facilities.

“Chinese military writings advocate attacks on space-to ground communications links and ground-based satellite control facilities in the event of a conflict. Such facilities may be vulnerable,” the report noted, “In recent years, two U.S. government satellites have experienced interference apparently consistent with the cyber exploitation of their control facility.”

Source: USCC (via ABC News)

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