A cyber-security researcher used a $25 homemade device to hack Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite-based internet system.
Lennert Wouters, a Belgian security researcher, revealed the first-ever hacking of Starlink’s user terminals or satellite dishes located in homes and buildings.
Wouters successfully hacked the Starlink internet system at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, using a homemade circuit board or modchip that cost around $25 to develop, according to Wired.
Wouters disclosed a voltage fault injection attack on a Starlink User Terminal (UT), which allowed him to break into the dish and investigate the Starlink network.
According to a tweet previewing the presentation, he developed the modchip using low-cost, off-the-shelf parts and was able to use it to obtain root access “by glitching the Starlink UT security operations centre bootrom.”
“Our attack compromises the Starlink UT permanently and allows us to execute arbitrary code. To freely explore the Starlink network, you must be able to obtain root access on the Starlink UT “according to the security expert
Wouters disclosed the vulnerability to SpaceX via its bug bounty programme.
Musk’s Starlink has launched over 3,000 small satellites into orbit to provide internet access in remote areas since 2018. Starlink is SpaceX’s satellite constellation in low Earth orbit.
The UT of Starlink is one of three core components of the Starlink system, the other two being satellites and gateways that transmit connections to the satellites.
Elon Musk stated in May that Russia is stepping up its efforts to disrupt the Starlink internet service in Ukraine.
He stated that Starlink has so far foiled all Russian cyberattacks.