Were US Satellites Hacked by the Chinese Military?

Illustration for article titled Were US Satellites Hacked by the Chinese Military?

Much has been made of the cybertensions between the U.S. and China, especially when it comes to military secrets. While any conflict thus far has been minor, the latest allegation of China hacking American satellites validates those concerns at least a little.


According to Businessweek, a congressional report revealed the Chinese were caught running interference on weather satellites on two different occasions in 2007 and 2008.

A Landsat-7 earth observation satellite system experienced 12 or more minutes of interference in October 2007 and July 2008, according to the report.

Hackers interfered with a Terra AM-1 earth observation satellite twice, for two minutes in June 2008 and nine minutes in October that year, the draft says, citing a closed-door U.S. Air Force briefing.

The draft report doesn't elaborate on the nature of the hackers' interference with the satellites.

The Chinese are denying these accusations, but the commission conducting the investigation fear that potential tinkering with more significant satellites could cause catastropic problems in the form of malfunctioning systems which depend on satellites, or the leak of secrets transmitted over communications satellites.

Ugh. Future warfare is confusing. And shadowy. [Businessweek]

Image via Shutterstock/Pedro Miguel Sousa



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