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Report: US communications satellite vulnerable to hacking
Posted: Sun, Oct 13, 2002, 11:47 AM ET (1547 GMT)
Commercial communications satellites used by the US government could be disabled or otherwise compromised because of poor security procedures, according to a new report. The report, published by the General Accounting Office earlier this month, found that commercial satellite operators do not use the same degree of security for telemetry and control communications with their spacecraft as government satellites. As a result, commercial spacecraft are at risk from foreign governments or terrorists, who could issue commands that would allow them to eavesdrop on communications or even disable the spacecraft. Federal government agencies, including the Defense Department, have grown increasingly reliant on commercial communications satellites, but since the government accounts for only 10 percent of the use of such spacecraft, they have not been able to influence security practices by the commercial operators. The GAO report recommends that the government take steps to create policies for appropriate security measures on commercial spacecraft, and include such spacecraft as part of the national critical infrastructure strategy.
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