Bug makes military satellites a hacker target

2014-04-17 14:00

Satellite. (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Military satellites have security vulnerabilities that makes them liable to be hacked a report says.

According to report on the Guardian website, satellite systems developed by major contractors have serious weaknesses and may compromise military activities and troops safety.

The Guardian report named Cobham and Inmarsat in the UK, as well as Harris Corporation, Hughes and Iridium in the US that made satellite systems that were "easily hackable".

At the centre of the vulnerability are the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellite receivers which provide location for teams.

According report from IOActive, these systems could be rendered ineffective by malicious software or the devices could be used to give troop locations to an enemy.

Heartbleed shock

Though companies have been warned about the vulnerability, it appears that only one company, Iridium is working on patching the bug in the software.

The software may also affect aeroplanes which also rely on similar navigation systems and a malicious person could disrupt flight communications.

It is also not beyond the bounds of possibility that criminals may exploit the bug to hold carriers to ransom.

This is the second major shock to computer security in a week after the Heartbleed vulnerability was exposed. It may potentially allow a hacker to steal encrypted data like personal financial information.

"Heartbleed will stand as a reminder that security is hard and that even simple bugs can have wide ranging and unexpected consequences," John Miller, Trustwave Security Research manager told News24.

The BGAN bug was reported in 2013 after it was found by Ruben Santamarta, an IOActive researcher.

However, given the manufacturing process for satellites, the vulnerability could be in equipment for the last two years, Santamarta warned.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    technology  |  space  |  cybercrime

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks want to continue upward curve
Ton-up Giteau defies his own expectations
The game of Heyneke’s life
Kriel braced for titanic Welsh clash
Traffic Alerts

You may find it hard to focus on the mundane routines as the greener pastures seem so tempting. It is a good time to expand your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.