Apparently Congress thinks so according to a recent report from Bloomberg. What's truly amazing is that the hacking occurred in 2007 and 2008 and we are just finding out about it. It makes one wonder what they are doing now.
The allegations are contained in the final draft of the annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission which is scheduled to be released in November. The bottom line is that the report states that hackers, perhaps from the Chinese military, "interfered" (whatever that means) with two U.S. satellites four times in 2007 and 2008 through a ground station in Norway.
As the report notes, "Access to a satellite's controls could allow an attacker to damage or destroy the satellite. An attacker could also deny or degrade as well as forge or otherwise manipulate the satellite's transmission."
From my foxhole, the Chinese military (assuming it was responsible) is far less likely to blow things up than to deny or forge transmissions. The report does not charge the Chinese government itself with involvement in the hacks - rather, it says the breaches were consistent with Chinese military writings which advocate disabling an enemy's space systems, particularly "ground-based infrastructure, such as satellite conrol facilities."
What is indisputable in these, and so many other hacking incidents, is that they come from Chinese IP addresses. As the report correctly states, finding the true source of the attacks is difficult because the perpetrators obscure their involvement.
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington says the Commission has "been collecting unproved stories to serve its purpose of vilifying China's image over the years", further saying that China "never does anything that endangers other countries' security interests."
And if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you . . .
Hat tip to colleague Sean Harrington for passing this story along.
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