Hackers Going Full Brazilian on U.S. Satellites

The Brazilian Federal Police are trying to crackdown on the hijacking of U.S. military satellites—an illegal act that is so well entrenched that it has become something of a "national phenomenon."

Much of this country's geography is remote, and beyond the reach of mobile phone coverage, making American satellites an ideal, if illegal, communications option. The problem goes back more than a decade, to the mid-1990s, when Brazilian radio technicians discovered they could jump on the UHF frequencies dedicated to satellites in the Navy's Fleet Satellite Communication system, or FLTSATCOM. They've been at it ever since.

In fact, everyone from truck drivers to drug dealers to soccer fans have hijacked the system to increase the range of their communications or coordinate operations. Because the practice is so widespread, eradicating it on the ground is probably not going to have a major impact. However, it does illustrate the woeful obsolescence of military satellite technology. [Wired]

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