An upcoming Congressional report suggests that NASA satellites have been hacked four times in recent years, possibly by people involved with the Chinese military. NASA isn't confirming all of that - but they do admit "suspicious events" have occurred.

Talking Points Memo's Carl Franzen has published an email from NASA Public Affairs Officer Trent J. Perotto, in which he addressed the congressional report's claims that an unknown party hacked and gained operational control of two NASA earth observation satellites, Terra AM-1 and Landsat-7 (pictured above). Here's part of Perotto's statement:

NASA experienced two suspicious events with the Terra spacecraft in the summer and fall of 2008. We can confirm that there was no manipulation of data, no commands were successfully sent to the satellite, and no data was captured. NASA notified the Department of Defense, which is responsible for investigating any attempted interference with satellite operations.

Perotto declined to discuss the incidents with Landsat-7 on the grounds that that satellite was built by NASA for the US Geological Survey, and that organization now has sole responsibility for the satellite. Perotto also did not address the report's claims that "the attacks bore hallmarks of the Chinese military, or someone affiliated with the inner-workings of the Chinese military." However, he did stress that NASA has taken steps to increase its security and guard against future threats.


For more details, do check out the original report over at Talking Points Memo. For more on the Terra satellite itself, check out NASA's site.

Image by NASA.