Air Force to offer up a satellite to hackers at Defcon 2020

Last month, when the US Force went to the Defcon hacker conference, it dragged along an F-15 fighter-jet data system.

The destination: a corner of the conference where the first-ever Aviation Village brought together the aviation industry with the infosec/hacker community. There, vetted security researchers picked that system to pieces.

As in, they literally went at it with screwdrivers and pliers. They filled hotel glasses with screws, nuts and bolts from the Trusted Aircraft Information Download Station. They also remotely inflicted malware on the unit, which collects video and sensor data while the F-15 is in flight.

The attitude of the Air Force to the results: well, that went well. Now, the Air Force has decided to up the ante, as Wired reports. Next year, it’s offering up an orbiting .

Will Roper, the Air Force’s top acquisition official, told the Washington Post that he wasn’t surprised at this year’s results with the F-15 subsystem. He expected the results to be this bad, given decades of neglect of cybersecurity, added to the military’s hitherto, mostly hands-off approach to penetration testing from the private sector not to mention what the Post calls the “arcane and byzantine” military contracting process, in which companies that build software components won’t let the Air Force pry apart their products for testing.

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