back to article European Space Agency: Come on, hack our satellite if you think you're hard enough

The European Space Agency (ESA) is inviting applications from attackers who fancy having a crack at its OPS-SAT spacecraft. It's all in the name of ethical hacking, of course. The plan is to improve the resilience and security of space assets by understanding the threats dreamed up by security professionals and members of the …

  1. Filippo Silver badge

    I'm not quite sure why you'd do this with a satellite that is actually in space, except for the hype factor. Surely you can use one that's on the ground and just simulate the latency somehow? Rather than risking bricking something that was quite costly to put up?

    1. John Sager

      Because part of the difficulty is to talk to the sat in the first place with radio kit that is capable of doing so. It's no test at all if the hack has to use ESA's comms network.

      1. Annihilator Silver badge

        "the successful applicants will be given controlled, technical access to OPS-SAT during the April CYSAT conference"

        It looks like they're being given access to the ESA comms network regardless. So to the original point, it could just as easily be on the ground with an artificial lag built in.

        They're not inviting people to sit in their own back garden with a radio antennae pointed at the sky and have at it.

      2. Binraider Silver badge

        Arguably the man-in-the-middle attack (disgruntled employee, plant, even spy!) is as plausible a scenario as any other for origin. Insider knowledge probably has tactical advantages to executing an attack and/or covering tracks too.

        1. quxinot

          And yet no one has done the obvious thing, so I suppose I'll have to say it with the obligatory:

          https://xkcd.com/1337/

  2. heyrick Silver badge

    Now there's an interesting Pwn2Own challenge. The lucky winner gets the satellite, right? Right?

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Mushroom

      "The lucky winner gets the satellite, right? Right?"

      Yah, just make sure you have enough space for the crater you'll need in your back garden.

      1. You aint sin me, roit
        Trollface

        If you're truly l33t...

        You'll land it in the neighbour's garden.

    2. Ignazio

      To quote QuestionableContent, they will be brought to justice. Orbital railgun justice.

  3. Clausewitz 4.0 Bronze badge
    Devil

    Not funny

    Hacking the real deal is funny

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Incentive

    Not only potential "hacker" will burn their identity, also probably they'll get only a fraction a good exploit fetches on the market.

    Then imagine having your doors busted at 6 AM every time someone "hacked" something.

    1. Valeyard

      Re: Incentive

      What? Bug bounties already exist, this isn't a new concept

      Kudos for the sexed up burned identities and kicked in doors take on a novel technical challenge though.

  5. davidp231

    Bonus points..

    ..if they do it with an old Macintosh Powerbook, a la Independence Day

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bonus points..

      Extra bonus points if they reconfigure things so that every confirmation prompt reads "How about a nice game of chess?"

  6. mattaw2001

    I approve of real world testing - Sims only get you so far

    I approve of actually testing this on real hardware as simulations well good only get you so far. It's important to actually see what really happens in real life, it's so easy to only simulate what you already know and for penetration testing you need to know what you don't know!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ripley says

    Satellite deorbit in 5, 4, 3....

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