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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

China Hacked American Satellites

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission claimed that the Chinese gained control of two American satellites. However, it wasn’t even this year. Media reported that nobody revealed any information about the hack at the time, which was between 2007 and 2008. Today, the data is about to be made public in the report published by US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

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It appeared that the 2 American satellites, namely Terra AM-1 and Landsat, were interfered with 4 times. Meanwhile, the intruders had control of the satellites for two to twelve minutes each time. The report confirmed that the control the intruders had over the satellites allowed them to damage or destroy the machines, as well as to block or falsify information they transmitted. Both of the satellites were only used for observing the climate and terrain of the planet, and there is no evidence that the intruders have ever misused their control.


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Nevertheless, the hack caused fears in the American military establishment. Success of the Chinese with those two satellites meant that they could, in theory, take over control of satellites having more sensitive functions like those used by the American military and different intelligence agencies for reconnaissance and communication.

The report of the organization never said clearly whether the intruders behind the hacks were state-sponsored or not. Of course, the fact that the information has been made public by the American-China Economic and Security Review Commission, coupled with the fact that the targets appear consistent with Chinese military plans in case of open war, looks like a little hint. The Eastern military strategy centers on disabling the enemy’s space systems along with the ground infrastructure through which the country is controlled as part of any assault.

According to further information, both Terra AM-1 and Landsat were controlled from the Svalbard Satellite Station located far in Norway. The station in question is known for frequent use of the Internet for transferring and gaining access to the files. The speculations are that the hackers could get into the Svalbard Satellite station’s system through its online connection. Thus far, no denials from China have hit the web.

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