China suspect in US satellite interference: report

Oct 27, 2011
Two people check images from the Landsat-7 satellite in France 2003. NASA satellites were interfered with four separate times in 2007 and 2008, possibly by the Chinese military, according to a draft of an upcoming report for the US Congress.

NASA satellites were interfered with four separate times in 2007 and 2008, possibly by the Chinese military, according to a draft of an upcoming report for the US Congress.

The latest draft of the report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said the behind the interference gained the ability to issue commands to one of the satellites on two occasions.

The targeted satellites are used for observation of the earth's climate and terrain, according to the report to be submitted to Congress on November 16. A copy of the latest draft of the report was obtained by AFP on Thursday.

It said the account of the interference with the satellites came from a May 2011 briefing for the Commission by the .

The hackers appear to have exploited the information systems of the Svalbard Satellite Station (SvalSat), a commercially operated satellite ground station in Spitsbergen, Norway, to gain access to the satellites, the report said.

SvalSat relies on the Internet for data access and file transfers, it said, citing a recent report.

On October 20, 2007, Landsat-7, a US jointly managed by NASA and the US Geological Survey, experienced 12 or more minutes of interference, the report said.

Landsat-7 experienced another 12 or more minutes of interference on July 23, 2008, the report said.

It said that on June 20, 2008, Terra EOS AM-1, a NASA-managed program for earth observation, experienced two or more minutes of interference, it said.

It said the hackers behind the interference with Terra EOS AM-1 "achieved all steps required to command the satellite but did not issue commands."

On October 22, 2008, Terra EOS AM-1 experienced nine or more minutes of interference, the report said, and "the responsible party" again "achieved all steps required to command the satellite but did not issue commands."

"Such poses numerous potential threats, particularly if achieved against satellites with more sensitive functions," the report said.

"For example, access to a satellite's controls could allow an attacker to damage or destroy the satellite," the commission said.

"The attacker could also deny or degrade as well as forge or otherwise manipulate the satellite's transmission," it said. "A high level of access could reveal the satellite's capabilities or information, such as imagery, gained through its sensors."

The report stressed that it was not recounting the incidents "on the basis of specific attribution information" but rather "because the techniques appear consistent with authoritative Chinese military writings."

"Authoritative Chinese military writings advocate for such activities, particularly as they relate to ground-based space infrastructure, such as control facilities," the report said.

The draft report also accused China of being behind a "range of malicious cyber activities" including state-level involvement in cyberattacks, industrial espionage and the compromise of US and foreign government computer systems.

"In 2011, US and foreign government organizations, defense contractors, commercial entities, and various nongovernmental organizations experienced a substantial volume of network intrusions and attempts with various ties to China," the report said.

China has repeatedly denied any state involvement in cyberattacks against government agencies and firms, including well-publicized attacks on Internet giant Google that sparked a row between Washington and Beijing.

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User comments : 14

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pres68y
5 / 5 (3) Oct 27, 2011
Shame on Chinese people doing that.
The US is the ONLY one that should be doing it.
(do as I say.. not as I do)
STUXNET is a good example of that hypocrisy.
Pirouette
1.6 / 5 (7) Oct 27, 2011
""The US is the ONLY one that should be doing it.
(do as I say.. not as I do)""

It may be presumptious of me, but I ASSUME you are an American citizen, and also ASSUME that you would wish for your country to be secure from our enemies. Perhaps you would like Iran and Ahmadinejad to also have access to our satellites, be it weather or military. The fact that the Red Chinese have done it at ALL, should make it clear to you that their hackers are also intent on getting into our military satellites. These are not little boys at play. They are practicing their skills and provoking us into devising superior security measures, which they will also try to decode. The Red Chinese have ALWAYS feigned innocence when accused of wrongdoing and they always will.
You say things as though you think the Red Chinese government is innocent and wants nothing more than to be a peace-loving country, instead of wanting to command and control the world. You're dreaming, if that's what you believe.
Pirouette
1.6 / 5 (7) Oct 27, 2011
What may be hypocritical to you, may someday come back to haunt you if your "Chinese" launch a few ICBMs with warheads full of their latest nuclear weapon, aimed at the city or town you live in. Unfortunately, it won't be just you and YOUR family that dies. . . .but millions more Americans will die also.
Jonseer
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 27, 2011
What may be hypocritical to you, may someday come back to haunt you if your "Chinese" launch a few ICBMs with warheads full of their latest nuclear weapon, aimed at the city or town you live in. Unfortunately, it won't be just you and YOUR family that dies. . . .but millions more Americans will die also.


Just so you know, the post you replied to was NOT serious. It was sarcastic.
Pirouette
1.6 / 5 (7) Oct 27, 2011
Yes, I KNOW he was using sarcasm. But the "hypocrisy" statement reminded me of all the critics of the U.S., who used that term in justifying their accusations that American soldiers go to war overseas in order to kill babies and other "innocents". The hypocrisy of war, as though the United States should just sit down and shut up and let our enemies get the best of us.
It will probably happen soon enough. Red China has been invited to bail out European countries, and they are NOT going to do it without some firm commitments from the Greeks, Germany and whatever other countries need bailing out. Heck, WE might even need bailing out and the Reds will have an open door. They can take the West coast for all I care.
Nahhh.. . .just kidding.
omatumr
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 28, 2011
For everyone's sake, I hope these suspicions can be resolved.
jsdarkdestruction
1 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2011
A speedy resolution would be best for all in my opinion as well.

Thank you oliver, you actually stayed on topic and didnt spout a bunch of nonsense conspiracy theories or any contradicting statements about your neutron repulsion theory . now if you could only do that with the other99% of your posts.
Skepticus
2.8 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2011
Too bad the Chinese are the suspects. If it were the Iranians, Israelis and Congess would have screamed murder and foaming for war!
northwest
5 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2011
The Norwegian firm manning SvalSat strongly denies the accusations as rumors.
http://www.digi.n...ra-norge
(use google translator)
SvalSat will be vital to the European competitor (Galileo positioning system) to the US GPS system.

Nerdyguy
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2011
"China-based servers in Japan cyber attacks: report" - Title of a separate article on PhysOrg today

Make no mistake, the Chinese have decided that the 21st century will have their mark on it, in more ways than one. Historically, with the exception of a very short period, they have been inclined to stay at home and grow "organically" as it were, while other expansionist nations were tromping around the globe.

It's interesting that, in this century, technology will allow them to expand without leaving home. Why travel when you can dramatically impact your opponents using technology to affect their economies, their defense and corporate systems, and their technological and industrial progress?

China's switch to a quasi-capitalistic economic system has fooled a lot of people into thinking they've become benign. But, the same old nasty totalitarian hardliners are still power.
omatumr
1.3 / 5 (6) Oct 28, 2011
"China-based servers in Japan cyber attacks: report" - Title of a separate article on PhysOrg today

Make no mistake, the Chinese have decided that the 21st century will have their mark on it, in more ways than one. Historically, with the exception of a very short period, they have been inclined to stay at home and grow "organically" as it were, while other expansionist nations were tromping around the globe.

It's interesting that, in this century, technology will allow them to expand without leaving home. Why travel when you can dramatically impact your opponents using technology to affect their economies, their defense and corporate systems, and their technological and industrial progress?

China's switch to a quasi-capitalistic economic system has fooled a lot of people into thinking they've become benign. But, the same old nasty totalitarian hardliners are still power.


I agree. The threat of a totalitarian world government seems very real.
andre_5200
1 / 5 (1) Oct 29, 2011
e_l_f. anyone?
Pirouette
1 / 5 (2) Oct 31, 2011
"China-based servers in Japan cyber attacks: report" - Title of a separate article on PhysOrg today"

For ONCE, I have to agree with Nerdyguy about this massive threat from the Communists in mainland China. I think we can all agree that we will have a rotten future if that is allowed to happen. The Chinese are using Capitalism against us. . .but they still treat their own people as slaves. And they will treat the West the same.
Pirouette
1 / 5 (2) Oct 31, 2011
I think the Europeans are "flirting with the DEVIL" by requesting a 'bailout' from Red China. If Europe defaults on those investments, China will most likely march into Europe with their armies and take over. . . .and they have the manpower to do it.
Look for even MORE Chinese hackers to continue finding ways to invade our systems.