SpaceX: researcher hacks Starlink with device he built with just $25 | Elon Musk | Lennert Wouters | Spain | Mexico | Colombia | TECHNOLOGY

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A security researcher managed to hack the satellite internet service, , with a device that he built himself. Lennert Wouters used materials that collectively cost approximately $25 for submission to SpaceX’s bounty program, which seeks to detect security flaws in its network.

Widespread Availability of Starlink User Terminals (UTs) Exposes Them to Hackers and opens the door for an attacker to freely explore the network. The recent Viasat attack demonstrates the need for security in satellite communications and the impact that security vulnerabilities can have on UTs that are often deployed in isolated locations.”, he points out .

The researcher created his own hacking tool to break Starlink’s security. “To access the satellite dish software, Wouters physically disassembled an antenna he purchased and created a custom hack tool that can be attached to the Starlink antenna.. The tool, a custom circuit board known as a ‘modchip’, uses off-the-shelf parts that cost around $25“, it states .

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When entering, you should only short-circuit the system. “Once connected to the Starlink antenna, the homemade printed circuit board (PCB) can launch a fault injection attack (temporarily short-circuiting the system) to help bypass Starlink’s security protections. This ‘glitch’ allows Wouters to enter previously locked-down parts of the Starlink system”, adds the medium.

After that, Wouters sent his work to Elon Musk’s company so that they know about the security breach. “The researcher notified Starlink of the flaws last year, and the company paid Wouters through its bug bounty scheme to identify the vulnerabilities.. Wouters says that while SpaceX issued an update to make the attack more difficult (it changed the modchip in response), the underlying problem cannot be fixed unless the company creates a new version of the main chip. All existing user terminals are vulnerable, according to Wouters”, adds the specialized portal.

For his part, Christopher Stanley, Security Engineering at SpaceX, congratulated Wouters for participating in the bounty program and his discovery. “We love working closely with security researchers! A special shout out to Lennert Wouters for an amazing presentation!”, he indicates in a tweet.


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