Hackers interfered with two US satellites 4 times between 2007 and 2008. These incidents involved observation systems which targeted through a ground station in Norway which are used to observe the earth’s climate and terrain (or is that just the "cover story?")
A new report that reveals this also mentions previous hacker penetrations of people linked to the Chinese underground community, meaning that China could be behind them. The Chinese government has repeatedly denied any role in computer attacks. Some computer experts downplay this. BBC News quotes computer expert Markus Kuhn as saying, "If there really has been a serious security problem with these two satellites, I would argue that to be entirely due to negligence by its designers or operators. This story appears to be little more than someone gaining temporary access to some remote computer that steers a satellite dish."
They quote computer expert John Walker as saying, "The thing to remember about satellites is that they do not just support military operations, but they also provide the backbone infrastructure for commercial operations. Recent news stories have reported that US unmanned drone military aircraft were infected with a virus that gathered information. If a malicious code is able to infect such a sensitive project, it is highly possible there could be other attacks targeting the information on military satellites via system-to-system conversations."
They quote technology expert Amichai Shulman as saying, "I think that for years the basic information security assumption by military and government agencies was that they should keep their data on isolated networks that were not connected in any way to commercial and public communication infrastructure. With this assumption and staff screening, they believed that the systems were safe. However, in today’s reality most military and government systems are interconnected and have substantial data links–some online and some offline–to public and commercial systems and networks.
"The latest alleged, Landsat incident is a clear example of that. While the system is operated mainly from military facilities and systems, it can be accessed from a commercial station in Norway which in turn is connected to the internet."
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