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Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Elon Musk’s Starlink System Hacked by a $25 Homemade Device

Lennert Wouters, a cyber security expert, claimed it only cost him $25 to create a gadget that could break into Elon Musk’s Starlink’s satellite internet service.

In a a press release, Wouters said, “The widespread availability of Starlink User Terminals (UT) exposes them to hardware hackers and opens the door for an attacker to freely explore the network.”

An inquiry from Insider for comment was not answered by SpaceX. The security flaw was exposed earlier this week at a computer security conference in Las Vegas by Wouters, a researcher from the Belgian university KU Leuven.

He demonstrated a modchip, commonly known as a DIY circuit board, to guests on Wednesday, according to Wired. The modchip would immediately connect to a Starlink dish and was constructed using components that could readily be purchased off-the-shelf for about $25, according to the journal.

According to Wouters, the tool would enable hackers to run code on Starlink devices and gain access to both the full network and previously unreachable areas of the system. The researcher has opened up his modchip’s blueprints for public viewing on GitHub.

Wouters carried out the hack as a part of a program run by SpaceX that rewards researchers for spotting flaws in the Starlink service. On Wednesday, SpaceX praised Wouters for the discovery and said that it had released a software upgrade.

However, Wouters told Wired that unless SpaceX develops a new model of the terminal’s core processor, Starlink will continue to be susceptible to hacking. A Starlink hack may easily turn into a global security issue. After Russia allegedly breached the country’s former satellite supplier, the Ukrainian military started utilizing Starlink terminals earlier this year. The US Air Force stated on Monday that Starlink would be used.

Over 400,000 users worldwide are currently subscribers to Starlink. The Federal Communications Commission has granted the business permission to beam its service to moving automobiles, boats, and airplanes.

In lower Earth orbit, the business operates a network of more than 2,500 satellites. Customers in remote locations will be able to get high-speed internet at up to 200 Mbps through the service.

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