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Science And Nature

Hackers prove it doesnt take much to hijack a dead satellite

The decommissioned satellite was used to broadcast movies and a conference.

By | Published Aug 15, 2022 3: 00 PM

Stock image of a satellite orbiting above the Earth with the moon in the background

Space satellite orbiting the planet earth. Components of this image furnished by NASA. Deposit Photos

With just a $300 device and (legal) usage of an uplink station, you, too, can broadcast WarGames from the decommissioned Canadian satellitethats what hacking enthusiast Karl Koscher showed everyone on the weekend at the annual Def Con hacker meetup in NEVADA. As a fresh writeup from Motherboard details, after being granted usage of an abandoned uplink facility, Koscher and friends used a software defined radio called a Hack RF for connecting with Canadas defunct Anik F1R satellite this past year and also have some fun with it.

After 15 years of loyal service, the telecommunications satellite in geostationary orbit roughly 22,236 miles above the planet earth was released to pasture in 2020, with subsequent plans to then move it right into a graveyard orbit in November 2021. For the reason that window of purgatory, however, Koscher and fellow buddies within the hacking group, ShadyTel, obtained both a license to utilize an out-of-use uplink facility combined with the Anik F1R satellites transponder lease.

[Related: Ball Corps unlikely journey from soda cans to satellites.]

What now ? with a satellite? What does a hacker do with a satellite? Koscher told Motherboard. We’d a chance to work with a satellite that has been being decommissioned We also had the opportunity to put our very own content on the website.

Which, needless to say, is strictly what Koscher and crew did. Utilizing their new satellite, the group could stream the talks from that years ToorCon hacking conference in NORTH PARK throughout the day while showing fan favorite films during the night. Extra bandwidth also allowed them to create a phone conference line with a separate number to call and broadcast over the continent.

Koscher continued to describe how satellites essentially just reflect whatever signals are beamed their way. Theres no authentication or anything, he said at that time. Although you hypothetically would want a stronger signal than other people attempting to broadcast to a satellite, abandoned ones give a unique and simplified chance for anyone seeking to hack the earth.

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