You knew something like this had to happen some day. Bloomberg has the scoop, citing a draft of the annual US-China Economic and Security Review, itself citing closed briefings from the US air force. Excerpt below, and link here.
A Landsat-7 earth observation satellite system experienced 12 or more minutes of interference in October 2007 and July 2008, according to the report.
Hackers interfered with a Terra AM-1 earth observation satellite twice, for two minutes in June 2008 and nine minutes in October that year, the draft says, citing a closed-door U.S. Air Force briefing.
The draft report doesn’t elaborate on the nature of the hackers’ interference with the satellites.
The news comes hot on the heels of news about a keystroke logger infecting Predator UAV ground stations. Presumably this involves NASA’s Near Earth Network ground station in Svalbard, Norway, but this is yet to be confirmed. The nature of the ‘interference’ is unknown, and there is no immediate comment from NASA or USAF.
I doubt NASA’s data is heavily encrypted, but it would be interesting to see just how targeted these civil observation satellites are, and what data — if any — was taken, and what the extent of control was.