• Credit: Shutterstock/Pogorelova Olga
     Credit: Shutterstock/Pogorelova Olga

Military Will Host Virtual Hack-A-Sat Event

May 19, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
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The event is designed to advance cybersecurity solutions for space-related systems.

The Space Force has announced that the planned satellite hacking challenge known as Space Security Challenge 2020: Hack-A-Sat would proceed as planned, but in a virtual format due to the pandemic. The Department of the Air Force and the Defense Digital Service's (DDS's) event includes an online qualification event May 22-24, followed by a final August 7-9. During the final, participants will attempt to reverse-engineer representative ground-based and on-orbit satellite system components to overcome planted “flags” or software code. The top three teams to successfully collect the most flags will win prize money for their contribution to the research community. Aerospace Village, a non-profit that aims to build a broad community of next-generation aerospace cybersecurity expertise and leaders, is hosting the challenge as a virtual component of DEF CON 28.

The challenge was scheduled to be part of the in-person DEF CON 28 hacking conference in Las Vegas, which will now also feature a virtual networking component. In addition to the hackathon, Aerospace Village will also provide virtual instructional and educational experiences about aerospace systems and cybersecurity during the August 7-9 event. 

Despite the move to the digital format, the service, along with the Air Force and DDS committed to partnering with Aerospace Village to virtually showcase the promotion and development of aerospace cybersecurity expertise and knowledge, a release from Space Force stated.
"We’re working very closely with DEFCON and the Aerospace Village leaders to flip this turn of events with COVID-19 restrictions into something that highlights this community’s unique abilities," said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “Our close partnership is opening the civilian, commercial and defense apertures for understanding and mitigating cyber aerospace risks like never before. It’s fundamental that we collectively creative a new era where cybersecurity is no longer a given because it’s developed in secrecy. Being part of the DEFCON community and learning from its experts to pinpoint vulnerabilities before they’re exposed in battle will keep our troops safer. We also have a lot of opportunities to share that will make DEFCON’s virtual Aerospace Village a fantastic place to learn and grow."

"Our plan is to meet every type of consumer at the device they are on and provide them with an immersive, educational and engaging experience throughout the three-day event," added Brett Goldstein, DDS director.   

More information about the Hack-A-Sat event or other events can be found at hackasat.com. or AFResearchLab.com.

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