Saturday, 29 October 2011

Chinese Hackers Control NASA Satellite

Chinese official e-terrorist "achieved all steps required to command" a NASA satellite, which put the satellite at risk of being controlled by these e-terrorists or destroyed or damaged, according to a draft report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

The Terra EOS AM-1 satellite, used to study climate and environmental changes, experienced nine or more minutes of interference in October 2008, according to the draft report, obtained by Defense News.

The report clearly mentions that the techniques used by these hackers were consistent with the Chinese Military Hackers technique thus leaving no doubt in anybody's mind as to where these attacks originated.

NASA spokesman Trent Perrotto confirmed that there was a "suspicious event" with the spacecraft in the summer and fall of 2008, but no data was manipulated. He confirmed that initial investigation show that no command was sent to the satellite but until further investigation are complete it will be difficult to tell what damage the Chinese have inflicted on the satellite.

The draft report noted that hackers did not issue commands to the satellite, but the interference "poses numerous potential threats."

For example:

■ Access to a satellite's controls could allow an attacker to damage or destroy the satellite.

■ The attacker could deny or manipulate the satellite's transmission.

■ An attacker could reveal the satellite's capabilities or information, such as imagery, gained through its sensors.

The U.S. Geological Survey was also a victim of cyber attacks, the report said.

In 2007 and 2008, a USGS satellite called the Landsat-7 experienced 12 or more minutes of interference, according to the report.

"The satellite continued its normal operations," USGS' Jon Campbell said, in reference to the 2007 incident. "There was no interruption of what the satellite would do normally."