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Italian Cyber Research Team Wins US Hack-A-Sat Competition

Moonlighter

hacking sandbox

Italian Cyber Research Team Wins US Hack-A-Sat Competition

A group whose members belong to five Italian cyber research teams won the recent Hack-A-Sat competition held from Aug. 11 to 14 at Def Con 31 in Las Vegas. 

The group, called mHACKeroni, beat four other teams in hacking Moonlighter, a 3U cubesat launched to the International Space Station on June 5 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and then was deployed to low-Earth orbit to host the cybersecurity challenge.

During the contest, the teams were tasked to bypass the satellite’s restrictions and command the spacecraft to observe and capture images of ground targets and then transmit the photos to a ground station, Space .com reported.

Moonlighter served as a hacking sandbox in space that allows the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in satellite systems to make them more resilient to cyberattacks.

U.S. adversaries were suspected of hacking U.S. government and commercial satellites. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the Starlink constellation has been subjected to frequent cyberattacks amid Russia’s ongoing military aggression against Ukraine.

According to a 2011 report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the Chinese military might have played a part in hacking two NASA satellites four times between October 2007 and October 2008.

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Category: Space

Tags: Hack-A-Sat mHACKeroni space Space .com Space Force US Air Force