Hundreds of hackers sign up for a chance to hack a Defense Ministry satellite

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US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — More than 900 hackers have registered to participate in the upcoming cybersecurity contest, in which participants are invited to find security errors in a military satellite and ground control system.

Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Procurement, Technology and Logistics, said the US Department of Defense has become a major supporter of the Hack-A-Sat event because it helps the military identify gaps in its systems and is also a place to recruit talent.

Hackers help us “pinpoint vulnerabilities before they are discovered on the battlefield,” Roper told reporters May 14 during a video chat.

This challenge is part of a large hacker convention known as DEF CON.

In the first round, hackers and researchers will be allowed to crack the flat-sat electronic components on the ground. Those who reach the finals will try to hack into a small satellite in orbit by removing the set “flags” or by reading the program code. The top three teams that claim the most flags will win up to $ 50,000 in prize money.

The convention usually takes place in Las Vegas, but this year it will be a virtual event due to the coronavirus pandemic. The online qualification event is scheduled for May 22-24, and the final virtual event will take place on August 7-9.

Roper said the issue of satellite hacking is one way for the Department of Defense to disseminate information about the need for cybersecurity in space systems.

“As the satellite constellation grows, we hope that in the industrial sector there will be more awareness of cybersecurity, especially in the commercial sector, which wants to work with defense and intelligence organizations, but probably does not think of cybersecurity as the main problem,” Roper said.


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