U.S. Suspects Chinese Involvement in Satellite Hacks; China Denies Accusations
October 31, 2011 12:06 PM
China denied the accusations that it hacked the Landsat-7 and Terra AM-1 satellites
The U.S. suspected Chinese involvement in the hacking of environment-monitoring satellites back in 2007 and 2008, but today, Beijing has denied these accusations.
The U.S. has been in a cyber war with China for about a decade now. China uses freelance hackers and official hackers to infiltrate international businesses, government servers, etc. in an attempt to obtain useful information. In the recent past, China has been suspected to be involved in the hacking of the
U.S. power grid
, cyber attacks on
hack in May 2011, and the
hack in June 2011.
According to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission's annual report, the Landsat-7 and Terra AM-1 satellites, which are two U.S. satellites used to map the Earth's terrain and monitor climate change, were disrupted in 2007 and 2008.
In October 2007 and July 2008, the Landsat-7 had 12 minutes of interference. June 2008 and October 2008, the Terra AM-1 experienced two minutes and nine minutes of interference respectively.
According to the annual report, the hackers were able to cause these disruptions by gaining access to a control station in Norway. Such actions could lead to the destruction of the satellites or false manipulation of the satellites' transmissions.
The report doesn't list China as a suspect for the hack directly, but it does say the hacks are "consistent with recent Chinese military writings" that mention the
disabling of a rival's satellites
. It also mentions that China is suspected to be behind a number of other hacks in the U.S. in the past year.
"I'd be a lot happier if I knew exactly what their intent was," said Bruce Carlson, National Reconnaissance Office director. "They're an incredibly modern society, but their military philosophy goes all the way back to probably, 4,000 years ago. They believe in deception, that's just one of their mantras so I remain concerned about their intent, and exactly what it is, I do not know -- but I'm concerned about it."
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei responded to the accusations by denying China's involvement and saying it's a victim of cyber attacks as well.
"[The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission] has always been viewing China with colored lenses," said Lei. "This report is untrue and has ulterior motives. It's not worth a comment. [China] is also a victim of hacking attacks and will oppose any form of cyber crime, including hacking."
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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