Hacker Team Wins $50,000 For Hacking A DoD Satellite At DefCon

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DefCon is one of the world’s most famous hacker conventions, it’s been taking place in Las Vegas since the early 1990’s and I’ve been to a few in the days before I had children.
This year a collaboration with the Department Of Defense had a competition involving hacking of satellites, to be clear the headline Hack-A-Sat event was a structured capture the flag event and this was part of a much larger Aeorspace Village which focussed on computer security in aircraft and satellites.

There’s a playlist on the Air Force Research Laboratory youtube channel collecting the event, and of course

And of course DefCon has a website with the more general event including some top quality talks about the world of information security:

  1. JLaDaBoss

    hello there

  2. Chlorate

    How long until we end up with satellites that are playing Doom to themselves?

  3. Alpha Orionis 911

    Good show Scott

  4. hans

    social engineering?

  5. Aubrey Freeman

    How much KubOS stuff was on there…?

  6. Hicham Mohsen

    Nice 3 videos in 6 days.

  7. Hebl von Heblowitz

    Bob, why aren’t we getting clear images with our satellite anymore? Did you point it at the Sun?
    – I, um … it was those hackers! They hacked the satellite. I swear, I had absolutely nothing to do with it.

  8. Dark Guardian

    2600 Rulz!

  9. Anonymous Anonymous

    #DefCon hasn’t been this good since they showed how to hack ATC

  10. Bullet Points

    The true winners should be the team that hacked into the event coordinators computer and found the answers

  11. Maldus Alver

    Watching the virtual DefCon conference.

  12. Anarchy Antz

    *NSA Has joined the chat*

  13. Docktor Jim

    Hello, Scott Manley there!

  14. Nevada Hamaker

    I just now realized that Scott has what appears to be a model of a Gunstar. It’s just to the left of the Millenium Falcon model. I’m sure I’m WAY late to the party on this but, hey, at least I finally noticed it.

  15. Mark Wandrey

    I can assure you, our GPS network are under constant hacking assault by other countries.

  16. Bram Moerman

    Searching for the next Edward Snowdon. . .

  17. The Lonely Rogue

    If only I had hacking skills…

  18. athanatic

    Scott, are you a goon? I know a couple.

  19. The Thieves' Domain

    What if all of these were real issues and not just simulated?

  20. Karl

    At least at normal Defcon you can avoid being owned by turning your devices off, locking them in a faraday cage and sending them to another country. Online Defcon sounds terrifying.

    Also, spehs hacks!

  21. Tony Roberts

    So that’s what happened to that poor Chinese satellite over the weekend!!! 😂

  22. Doc Nathan

    I’m early but I can’t think of a good comment

  23. Абракадабра Кобра [25% &

    Fly^WCode safe!

  24. Konrad Andrag

    Good video, thanks😃😁

  25. LowJack187

    That was my phone dummy!

  26. Mohammad Ipung

    Remind me of hacking bird in the sky

  27. Helium Road

    Using contests like this find the smartest or best people reminds me of the 80s film The Last Starfighter where aliens were using an arcade game to find the best human candidates to be fighter pilots in an interstellar war that threatened Earth, but which no humans knew about.

  28. Dave

    Scott, how can I fly safe? THEY’RE GO9NG TO HACK MY SAT :(

  29. deleterium

    I think someone got a satellite stuck, than had this idea to recover it!

  30. James Thornton

    @4:39 Is that Sparc processors? As in Sun Sparc/Ultrasparc? Or some other variant of “spark”?

  31. Lukáš Smiga

    i am experiencing start of the same weeks for me regarding DEFCON…. and NDC Oslo 2020 on top of that :D

  32. Kaltonian

    What a great way of getting a job interview

  33. Vincent Fischer

    scott did you were involved with the game “you don’t know jack”?

  34. Martian Texan

    I wonder if this is a form of hack-proofing research, sure sounds like it

  35. Aimless Savant

    The best defence is throwing the enemy at it until you find a problem.

  36. Robert C

    Dear Lord .. having to PXE image a laptop on the ISS…

  37. Dan Chatka

    Thanks for explaining current DefCon activities, and for the link to their videos.

  38. Sandwich247

    8:44 “Twen- two thousand and seven”

    I have made that mistake more times than I’d like to admit…

  39. Klausberger

    Sti *ll Amazing, how* much Work you do for this Channel. And such good Content for Evenings where I would otherwise watch other crap that I cant even remember the next day.

    💙 Thank you Scott!

  40. Seal Piercing

    Poland Can Into Space

  41. Devyash Lodha

    Ooooo I participated in this as my first CTF!

  42. Dean Calaway

    I wanna see them getting into my Atari 2600, I dare them, leaving it on overnight.

  43. rocketman863

    This is why I love this channel and Scott. I’ve know about defcon, but still learn so much. And other things like why some panels are black on the Saturn v

  44. Andrew van der Stock

    When $dayjob and my inner space geek intersect. The last time this happened, I nearly lost my first security consulting job in 1997 because I was out in the Australian countryside watching the Leonids until the early hours and struggled into work the next day (i.e. later that same morning).

  45. Frostie-Flake

    “Fly Secure and Fly Safe”

  46. mozkito life

    This is cybersecurity evolutionary arms race.
    They would take the times involved in cracking problems and apply it to real-world war games.

  47. axelord4ever

    Spot the Fed, lol.

  48. Collin Smith

    Man that convention sounds awesome to go to! Love to hit it up sometime.

  49. Brice Johnson

    64% assembly. Geez!

  50. Damien Drouart

    Poland can into space!
    (just, barely legally).

  51. Spooky Donkey

    Super interesting! I can use this video to humble myself whenever I start feeling a bit intelligent. There’s so many brilliant people out there 😑

  52. Jan Stromback

    NOW I know why internet has been so sketchy last week! ;)

  53. Joseph Jobo Licayan

    3:33 why do i get the feeling of an ad/sponsorship coming up…

  54. CMOSlabs

    Hmm, I have a hard enough time pinging the ISS as it Flys over Colorado. Using a hand held yagi antenna, a satellite tracking app on my phone and a ham radio pinging it with a 1200 baud APRS packet signal on 145.825 mhz. You only have a 5 minute comunications window as you track it with your vhf yagi antenna. Not much hacking time (grin)
    Need one of those big golf ball type dish antennas networked to others 🛰️🚀📡📡📡🔭

  55. CMB

    SCOTT have you ever tried to chat to the ISS on HAM radio?

  56. imbetterthanyouis

    oooooooooo ! i hope deviant olam did a presentation and i hope they put it up on youtube

  57. ChevronTango

    Poland Can Into Space. Mad respect for that name! Love it!

  58. Bartłomiej Hryniewicki

    That team name. The name. I’m proud of whoever came up with this name.

  59. Jan Piotrowicz

    Poland can into space! :p

  60. Jamison W.

    Nice to hear you mention Shenzen I/o, i love that game and most of the other zachtronics games.

  61. Agent X

    DefCon I think is a great open source way to reveal security weaknesses in devices.

  62. Pronto

    “The woods are full of wolves which might eat our children.”
    “OK, let’s tame them and train them to be our hunting dogs.”
    “Why would they want to share their kills with us?”
    “They get to sleep by the fire?”

  63. Andrzej Waśko

    Thank you for this one! Looking forward to news like: spacex is no longer in control of 50% of it’s starlinks, those which are missing were reported being seen over a mountain village in Poland forming a request: “Marry me Eve, I love You to the stars! – Frank” :)

  64. Evan S

    We’ve all had a crash course in social engineering over the course of this election year.

  65. Kacper Żurawski

    Poland Can Into Space

  66. Dark Guardian

    I’m rockin’ in my chair listening to the details…
    Wish I had this in my youth back in the 1970s…

  67. RealPunkie

    I’m here fot the Poland can into space comments and I am totally satisfied.

  68. A27M Cromwell1

    Poland can into space

  69. Kamis47

    Poland can into space :)

  70. Lanka Cajan

    Dang, some of the lectures/talks in DefCon have been really nice to watch. Even if the subject matter may fly bit above my head. Hopefully they’ll keep doing those if the world doesn’t end because definitely want to attend some year in distant future..

  71. Xavier X

    Poland can into space!

  72. Antonio Maglione

    Thank you for the report on DEFCON. It has changed beyond recognition compared to the initial years, but remains an almost unique occasion for growth on both sides. Especially now that the stakes are… Sky high!
    Regards by a proud whitehat!

  73. Otrab

    I guess the Military learned to put some form of access control on their transponders when Brazilian pirates started using the UHF SATCOM sats.

  74. Simon Kimberly

    Im still down for the lego mindstorm sat.

  75. Brett Thomassen

    DEFCON is so cool and so scary at the same time

  76. w0ttheh3ll

    You could’ve said “I’m Scott Manley, fly secure!” for this vid.

  77. Tibor Baksa

    Wasn’t there a scientific or HAM satellite that had to be hacked to restore communications with it?

  78. Crobisaur

    It was cool to watch I didn’t know about the aerospace village until this year, it was also my first defcon!

  79. Tuxedo Productions

    3:31 Languages:
    64.0% Assembly
    28.9% C

    Yea, that’s gonna be a nope from me.

  80. 陈欣洋

    Poland can into space

  81. Paul Haynes

    Got a ‘like’ from me – because I liked it. Just a good job there isn’t an ‘understood’ button…

  82. Don Jones

    I’m more worried about the satellites hacking *us.* Skynet keeps growing.
    I’m joking. But… :|

  83. Andrew Wilhelm

    In the qualifiers, there was a similar challenge called “1202 Alarm”. Unfortunately I ran out of time while brushing up on my nouns and verbs

  84. ColeyGeerts

    Loving this “Scott Covers a Science Media Event” type content!

  85. John theux

    Welcome to DefCon, to enter select Alt+F4
    Congratulations, you failed.

  86. pauldzim

    Pro tip: the default password on most satellites is “password”

  87. Nicholas Rehm

    “…crew has accidentally brought up malware to the ISS” Maybe devices/data should be quarantined just like the astronauts are? Never thought about that

  88. Rob Speed

    Hacking an airgapped system, but without the air.

  89. Jan Strojil

    Scott, are there any comments on the explosion during the 150m hop? There was a flash and debris flying through the air.

  90. klausvonshnytke

    Team “Poland Can Into Space” :):):)

  91. Jan Babiuch-Hall

    Poland Can Into Space

  92. Eli Stettner

    Last time I was this early the James Webb Telescope was on schedule.

  93. Pranjal Jain

    What human spaceflight taught us about Information Security is a video that I would be very interested in as a software engineer and a space enthusiast

  94. ThatNumbersGuy

    Holy shit this is my team. I can’t believe I’m seeing info about something I did on my favorite space youtube channel

  95. Mark Kruger

    Scott, if you make it to DefCon in the future, this goon will buy him a beer.

  96. Merxellus Gogou

    The HIGHESTT Coolest Honour one can ever recieved. Legally Hacking Satellite, Thats Dopeeee!!!!

  97. VacBomber

    Imagine Someone Hacking ISS Coms and RickRolling Astronauts.

  98. John Cashwell

    This is really an amazing program. There are a couple of really intelligent people who were given great jobs with the DoD years ago because they were “discovered” through programs like this. It really changed their lives; one of them was self taught and had no college education, heck he barely made it through high school. More importantly, though, computer programming and electronic asset protection cannot be fully protected if development and employment occur in isolation. By exposing these assets to the broadest possible hacker and developer community, those assets are made safer.

  99. Pharisaeus

    We had TLE for the satellite (duh, we had to have it to calculate the commands) and we believe the satellite was AEROCUBE 10B 19022C.

  100. Tuxedo Productions

    “We need you to hack into a satellite and get rid of malicious code”
    Yea that sounds good
    “We now need you to manually fix the bootloader using GPIO and low level scripting”
    Alright done
    “Now we need you to use the satellite normally and take a picture of the moon”

Comments are closed.