The United States Air Force is offering a whopping $250,000 in prizes to any hacker who can successfully hack into a small satellite in orbit. This “Hack-a-Sat” prized contest is in no way illegal, and set to start in an upcoming hacking conference tagged “Defcon 2020”.
Kickstarting with a qualification round which commences from May 22, 2020, to the final round scheduled for August 2020 and to be held online is expected to witness hackers from across the world display their hacking skills to the admiration of the US air force.
The organizers of this contest disclosed in a statement that there is a need to devise ways on how to protect space from mischief-makers who can now design and even launch a satellite without sticking to rules and security guidelines, with the concerns that numerous small but commercially viable satellites have been launching into space with little or no control over them thereby creating unstable operations in space. “How then can we have a reliable, trustworthy, and safe operations that can truly achieve the potentials of space?”
This contest is not the first of its kind as the US air force has hosted similar contests in previous years. Last year saw the US air force attending the Defcon hacker’s conference along with the data system of an F-15 fighter jet which was offered up for hacking to hackers present at the conference.
The rest of that experience exposed the vulnerability of the F-15 fighter jet’s data system to even malware attack which inflicted the data system remotely. The experience led to the air-force offering up a satellite in orbit for hacking this year to study how small satellites can be prone to security breaches.
This contest has no limit to the number of contestants from the qualification stage up to the final round, government employees from all countries of the world are not eligible for registration including the USA employees except for government contractors who have no ties to the contest. Multiple contestants from the same organization can apply but cannot collaborate during the contest, contestants would not be getting any other reward apart from the prize amount.