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Date: 1999-03-01

Satelliten-Crack: Story stinkt

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Langsam aber sicher stösst der Reuters-Bericht auf jene Skepsis,
die einer Story über den Crack eines Satelliten des militärisch-
elektronischen Komplexes durch Unbekannte angemessen ist. Die
Story ist bis jetzt nirgendwo bestätigt.

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Michael Buonagurio
February 28, 1999 at 16:26:09 According to the Sunday Edition of
the Times of London an unknown band of crackers/extortionists have
seized control of one of the United Kingdoms Skynet 4 military
communication satellites. The individual(s) involved apparently altered
the course of the satellite from its previous geo-synchronous orbit.
The UK government has received a ransom demand for an
unspecified amount for return of satellite control. It is presumed that if
the demand is not met the current controller will burn all on-board fuel
thus rendering the satellite inoperable.

The main question is how did this occur? In order to take control of
the satellite the extortionists would have had to bypass numerous
electronic security arrangements including the encrypted command
codes necessary to change the satellite's attitude. They would then
have to crack into an up-link facility, keying it to the specific
transmission wavelength of the satellites operational systems. Once
that was accomplished they would have to be able to ensure control
of the satellite in order to achieve their goals.

The current views are that the take-over was an inside job. Either a
few lines of corrupted code were created as a backdoor in the
systems initial programming, or the command keys were sold by an
individual(s) as part of an espionage ring. The ability to change
satellite attitudes is also not a common skill.
Due to the satellites geo-stationary orbit this facility is most likely
located within Europe.
The UK Ministry of Defense has no comment on this report.

Data of Skynet series: The UK's main military communications
satellites are the Skynet series. These satellites are needed for the
prosecution of all types of conflicts- including nuclear war- for the
European Theater. A total of five have been launched and designated
Skynet 4, 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D. Of these the original Skynet has been
retired with 4A, 4B and 4C to be replaced by 4D, 4E and 4F,
respectively. It is believed that the satellite taken over is the -4D
which was launched January 10, 1998 using a Delta 2 rocket.

All Skynet systems use digital encryption, UHF- and EHF-
transmission bandwidths. The -4D, -4E, and -4F satellites transmit
and receive in the 254-318 MHz UHF-band, have two transponders, a
power of 50 W, steerable spot beam SHF antennas, and a bandwidth
of 25 KHz.

Last known locations were 34º West (inclined) for the -4A and 53º
East for the -4D.
Full Text

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edited by Harkank
published on: 1999-03-01
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