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Hacking satellites or how China invaded the US in space

Juan A. Caravaca, February 4, 2021

When we talk about cyberattacks we always think of those that have taken place on our planet, but is it possible that these have taken place in space too?

This is shown by the attack China suffered in the US a few years ago. This again shows the impact and scope of the computer attacks that we regularly repeat.

In this case, and thanks to a report from the Bloomberg agency, the US government reported interference with two of its satellites, of which it does not directly accuse the Asian country, but of which there are reasonable suspicions thanks to the discovery of Chinese documents relating to it how to deactivate enemy space systems.

The events took place at the Svalbard ground station in Svalbard, Norway, whose hostile links were with the Landsat-7 observation satellite, which reportedly resulted in a loss of communications of twelve or more minutes, events that were repeated again. again a year later and that happened again with NASA’s Terra AM-1 satellite.

The report covers the dependence of these satellites on internet connectivity for data and file transfers.
Both are satellites dedicated to observing the weather and terrestrial terrain. Hence, the threat level was not too high as it was not critical information, although we envision the extent of the impact rather than being a denial of service attack leading to the obstruction of the ordinary use of a system or how if it happened in this case, the data collected by these satellites would have been corrupted or destroyed.

The Chinese government denied these events despite the documents received from US intelligence directly pointing to the government of that country, arguing that it is information that, according to Wang, seeks to denigrate China’s image in the international scene, Baodong, spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, who defended them, argues that China will never do anything that will jeopardize the security interests of other countries and that it will work with them to suppress and prevent cybercrime.

Although US intelligence has known for years that there is a cyber army operating for the Chinese government known as People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398, APT1, Shanghai Group, or Byzantine Candor, the name of which they named in 2002 by US intelligence whose operating base is located in a twelve-story building near Datong Road in the Pudong financial district of Shangi.

It is believed that this entity has been behind attacks on companies around the world since at least 2006, where there is already clear evidence of these attacks linking them to intrusion and theft of information from companies around the world.

Messages like this let us see the impact and impact of critical infrastructure exposure to the Internet.

This is just a small example of the many incidents that have occurred over the past few years and mainly related to China or Russia as there are others that will be no less interesting in future articles …

Text: Juan Antonio Caravaca (DLT code)

Photo: Landstation Spitzbergen, Svalbard, Norway.

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