At least two US satellite have suffered unspecified ‘interference’ thanks to unknown hackers in recent years. That’s according to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which releases its latest annual report next month.
The affected satellites were the Landsat-7 and Terra AM-1 Earth observation satellites, which were affected in October 2007 and October 2008 respectively. The interference lasted between two and eleven minutes in each case. The hackers gained sufficient access to be able to fully control the satellites, but did not choose to take that extra step.
It’s unclear who was behing the hacking or how they managed to gain access. There is speculation that access could have been gained via a satellite station in Svalbard, part of northern Norway. Inevitably, some have suggested that China might have been behind the incidents, but Chinese officials have already issued the strongest possible denials.