Hacker used $300 of TV equipment to hack satellites and download terabytes of sensitive information
Cometh the Blackhat conference, cometh new hacking techniques. We earlier had reported about the Spectra attack which will be showcased at the virtual Blackhat conference on August 2020. The Spectra attack can be used to exploit the combo-chips vulnerability of Broadcom and Cypress powered iPhones, macOS PCs, Laptops, and Samsung Galaxy S series smartphones.
Now we have another hacker cum security researcher who will demonstrate how he managed to hack into million-dollar satellites using just $300 common TV equipment. James Pavur who is a DPhil student at Oxford University has managed to hack into the multi-million dollar satellites using puny $300 common TV equipment. The hack also allowed him to download terabytes of confidential transmission that is passed through satellites every day.
Pavur says he used the $300 TV equipment to hack into the satellites using two distinct satellite communications protocols: DVB-S MPE and DVBS-2 GSE and hijack their communications sessions. The researcher says that any potential hacker could use the same $300 TV equipment to spy on these communications satellites from thousands of miles away with virtually no risk of detection. The data transmitted through these satellites is confidential and could cause harm to world militaries, economies, etc.
Pavur’s discovery could cause problems for big satellite launching countries like the US, China, India, and tech companies who use satellites for communications. The risks rise exponentially as the number of satellites in orbit is expected to increase from approximately 2,000 today to more than 15,000 by 2030. Elon Musk’s SpaceX alone has permission to launch 12,000 satellites by then.
Pavur will demonstrate how he used the $300 TV equipment to hack into active sessions via satellite link during the upcoming Blackhat conference.