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How to hack Elon Musk’s satellite Internet antennas with only 24 euros

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Lennert Wouters (security researcher in Ku Leuven, Belgium) spent $25 (approximately €24) to create a tool that would be able to hack the antennas of Internet Starlink satellite.

During the presentation at Black Hat Security ConferenceWouters showed how he was able to carry out the attack after analyzing the hardware vulnerabilities in the antenna, so, managed to access the terminal and create your own custom code.

To perform the hack, Wouters built a mod chip (custom circuit board) that uses a Raspberry Pi microcontroller, flash storage, electronic switches, and a voltage regulator. Once connected on the Starlink board, an attack is made that causes the voltage failure to avoid the protections of security.



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Wouter’s system generates a failure in the first bootloaderso we implement a firmware that allows to continue with the antenna ignition. Thanks to this tool, you can access the device because it generates a technical problem and gives access to parts that should supposedly be blocked.

This allows a problem is generated in the terminals, but it opens the door to being able to execute arbitrary code and explore the network of star link. On the other hand, Wouters says the attack is difficult to pull off, but not impossible to pull off.

Modchip created by Wouters.
Modchip created by Wouters.
wired

Starlink’s reaction

Following the investigator’s explanation, Starlink explained in a document how they protect their systems, however, they note that Wouters’ work is “technically impressive, the first of its kind that they were aware of on their system.”

Thanks to this vulnerability, now can limit the effects of attackers to take the necessary measures.

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