Space hacking

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For cybergeeks bored with interrupting ecommerce on America On-Line and Amazon.com, NASA may soon be making possible an even loftier goal: hacking satellites.

NEW SCIENTIST reports that NASA has commissioned the British company Surrey Satellite Technology to research the use of Internet technology to control satellites. Last week, the company launched an experimental satellite — believed to be the first to be controlled via the Internet — from a base in Russia. Internet-guided satellites would be cheaper, and would allow operators to access their spacecraft from any PC at any time.

But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that NASA operators might not be the only ones with access to the satellites — any adept hacker could conceivably take control of a satellite from his bedroom. NASA itself recently admitted its vulnerability: Last week, the space agency acknowledged that a hacker was able to overload its computers and interrupt communication on a space shuttle mission in 1997. NASA says it has recorded about 500,000 attempted hacks in the past year alone.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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