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More Satellite Hacking...

*** How to Break into Satellites: Not!
Unless you have millions of dollars and a team of engineers, you have no hope of taking over commercial or governmental satellites. You may have encountered boasts from hackers that they move satellites around and toy with their transmissions. If so, they were lying.  In reality, communications satellites are too well guarded. They receive their commands through dedicated radio transmission systems, and the antennas these transmissions require are huge and expensive. This is because it is important to focus the satellite control beam tightly, and it takes large antennas to do this.

So unless you build a sufficiently similar system, overpower their satellite control channel link, figure out how to spoof their transmissions, and determine what their proprietary commands must be -- well, it just isn't going to happen.

If someone did put together the power to try such a stunt, they would be more likely to damage a satellite than take it over. Dan Veeneman, speaking at Def Con IV, illustrated the danger by citing a case in which the legitimate operator of the AMSC-1 communications satellite accidentally damaged it "soon after launch by inadvertently overloading one of the on-board amplifiers."

Clearly, if a hacker were to damage a satellite by beaming break-in attempts at it, he or she would wind up with a loooong stay behind bars. And, yes, anyone trying such a stunt would be easy to catch. The power required to attempt a satellite takeover would be easy to detect. (Think NSA radio frequency snooping satellites!)
*** Conclusion
If you want to control space satellites, it is far easier and more fun to build your own than to try to break into other peoples’ satellites. That's what I say!

OK, OK, maybe some of you readers are wondering why you should pay attention to me. Answer: I went though the hard work of getting an engineering degree, and afterward had the immense fun of working on satellite designs as a contractor to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (http://www.darpa.mil) and NASA (http://www.nasa.gov).  You can get a quick idea of what some of these fun projects were by checking out my resume at http://cmeinel.com.

I'm not telling you this to brag, but rather to encourage you. I'm not a genius, so if I could do it, you can too, even if you aren't a genius, either. It's just a matter of hard work. Besides, if you burn with ambition, all that hard work will turn out to be irresistible fun. Hacking on steroids.
I give permission for you to copy, email, or post this Guide to your website as long as you leave this notice at the end.
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© 2013 Carolyn Meinel. You may forward, print out or post this GUIDE TO (mostly) HARMLESS HACKING on your Web site as long as you leave this notice at the end.


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