IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

US Air Force launches $50,000 satellite hacking challenge

Hack-a-Sat challenge will kick off on 22 May and is open to ethical hackers worldwide

The US Air Force is offering $50,000 to help shore up its satellite cyber security as part of an online challenge called Hack-A-Sat.

The event, which kicks off on 22 May with a final round set for August, has been developed in partnership with the US Defense Digital Service, the digital arm of the Department of Defense.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the hackathon has been moved entirely online and aims to help improve cyber security safeguards ahead of the Pentagon's rollout of a satellite constellation network later this year.

The Hack-A-Sat challenge is open to hackers around the world and will begin with a 48-hour 'Capture the Flag' first-round. Participants will be given a set of challenges in one of several categories on a Jeopardy-style board. The first team to solve a challenge has the ability to unlock the next challenge in any given category, with each solved challenge resulting in the competitor retrieving a 'flag'. 'Redemption' of this flag by another team results in points being awarded to the challenger. 

The final will be contested from 7 to 9 August where the top three constants will have the chance to attempt to hack a virtualized satellite and win $50,000, with $30,000 awarded to second and $20,000 for third.

"The democratization of space has opened up a new frontier for exploration and innovation," the Hack-A-Sat website reads. "But with this opportunity, new cyber security vulnerabilities are also being created. One human can design, build and launch a satellite, adhering to very few standards and security protocols. So how can we achieve safe, reliable and trustworthy operations to truly realize the promise of space? ...by hacking a satellite."

The event takes place at the virtual Aerospace Village at DEFCON, which will also host workshops for satellite hacking and avionics.

Featured Resources

Activation playbook: Deliver data that powers impactful, game-changing campaigns

Bringing together data and technology to drive better business outcomes

Free Download

In unpredictable times, a data strategy is key

Data processes are crucial to guide decisions and drive business growth

Free Download

Achieving resiliency with Everything-as-a-Service (XAAS)

Transforming the enterprise IT landscape

Free Download

What is contextual analytics?

Creating more customer value in HR software applications

Free Download

Most Popular

16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

13 May 2022
(ISC)2 launches free scheme to get 100,000 UK citizens into cyber security
Careers & training

(ISC)2 launches free scheme to get 100,000 UK citizens into cyber security

17 May 2022
Preparing for the 3G sunset
Network & Internet

Preparing for the 3G sunset

18 May 2022