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ESA Want hackers to take on a real satellite in space

Not all hackers are created equal: Word of that should have got around by now. Because numerous security experts are hired by industry and official institutions to test and secure their systems. ESA is now calling for a satellite to be hacked. The European Space Agency ESA would like to use these security experts, also known as white hat hackers, for their purposes and has therefore announced a competition.

At a security conference in April, the space agency will make its OPS-SAT satellite available so that the selected hackers can check it out in live operation. On the competition page, the writes ESA: “During the Cysec conference in April 2022, ESA’s OPS-SAT space laboratory will be made available to selected, invited applicants to test their winning ideas in a controlled and robust environment – exactly the kind of experiment the 30 centimeter is used for large flying CubeSat was developed. ”

Three finalists are allowed to run

Of course, not everyone can try that, at least not in the final of the competition. Because first, the ESA wants to select three finalists. For this purpose, participants should submit their ideas by February 18, 2022. The first hackers can later try their hand at a copy of the satellite; from the hacks and attack scenarios submitted, three are ultimately selected to be allowed to carry out the live demonstration.

According to the ESA, the live demo will be quite a challenge. Because: “The event will be technically very demanding, as the teams will only have six minutes to communicate with the satellite.” The interest among the hackers is (hopefully) great. For example, YesWeHack CTO Romain Lecoeuvre said: “Space resources play a crucial role in many of the services we use on earth every day. Therefore, it makes sense to protect them in the same way as security-critical services on Earth. We look forward to sharing our know-how -how to bring ethical hacking into this industry.”