Satellite Abduction Is Simpler Than You Think

Actually, there are several aspects to hacking. Contrary to what stock photographs of people slumped over and wearing hoodies might lead you to believe, there is a sizable ethical hacking community. In an effort to uncover exploits and alert a developer about them before one of the bad guys does, some ethical hackers search for software flaws. Some of them engage in it for amusement, either alone, with a few friends, or at events called hackathons. Others do so to support themselves. Tech firms like Google frequently pay out enormous rewards to hackers who can break its software. Then there is the illegal activity, which is likewise very lucrative but, if you get discovered, may land you in a federal jail for the rest of your days.

If you first check the appropriate criteria, specifically hacking satellites may also be legal. Satellites are remain someone’s property once they are decommissioned. If the owner finds out what you did, you can face legal repercussions. Then there is the extensive set of rules that apply to the use and functioning of satellites. Therefore, even if the owner of the satellite doesn’t care, you could still get in trouble with the FCC.

Koscher carried out a completely lawful hack. The transponder, or component of the satellite that controls what data the satellite sends and receives, was leased before it was used. In order to use the abandoned uplink station chosen for the job without running afoul of the law, Koscher additionally obtained a license. Similar amounts of documentation and a few costs are required if you also wish to legally kidnap a satellite. However, after that’s done, things can end up becoming less complicated.

Satellite uplink station
Satellite orbiting earth

Before, satellites have been compromised, and those responsible rarely bothered to first go through the proper channels. In the 1980s, HBO viewers who intended to unwind with a bowl of popcorn and an evening’s worth of pleasure were instead treated to a message from Captain Midnight, a hacker who had taken over the broadcast. The message “Goodevening HBO from Captain Midnight” was written on the channel’s test card in lieu of “The Falcon and The Snowman,” according to The New York Times . 12.99 cents per day? No way! (Beware of Showtime-Movie Channel.)

The breach prevented HBO from broadcasting on the east coast, and the company’s vice president at the time, David Pritchard, claimed his organization had been threatened with sabotage in the months before the incident. Pritchard added that the breach was a deliberate, unlawful interference with a satellite broadcast that was authorized by the government. Captain Midnight was eventually apprehended and shown to be John MacDougall, a business owner with a satellite dish and electrical engineer who was angry that HBO had added a monthly price for its services. McDougall was fined $5,000 for the prank after entering a guilty plea to a misdemeanor (via Network World ).

Additionally, the issue can be considerably worse than a five-minute movie break. According to The Washington Post , Congress is growing more worried about the threats presented by satellite hackers. A hacker might possibly plan an attack that prevents communication as well as sends two satellites crashing into one another or into the International Space Station. The U.S. administration has previously voiced concern over competing nations like China intentionally targeting its military satellites and government satellites.


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