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Hackers launch cyberattacks on US satellite, at the request of the Pentagon

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Hackers are vying to be the first to hack into a US government satellite in a competition organized by the Pentagon.

Air Force and Space Force officials have held the Las Vegas competition to hack into a working satellite currently orbiting the globe, which will pay out a top prize of $50,000.

Five teams are participating in the “Hack-a-Sat” competition, which will provide national defense agencies with insight into cybersecurity weak points and advanced infiltration tactics.

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“We don’t want to be just one big, monolithic organization,” Space Force Captain Kevin Bernert said, according to Politico. “We want to intelligently engage as many people. And so the long-term impact is understanding that you have to cook cybersecurity – you don’t just lock it down afterwards.”

This is just the latest in attempts by the Department of Defense to bring outside technical experts into the development of military systems.

The Pentagon has extended similar collaboration opportunities to experts in other cutting-edge technology fields.

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Footage from a video posted to social media by Space Systems Command showing the start of the Hack-a-Sat event. (Space Systems Command)

Silicon Valley has started picking up military contracts as the Pentagon looks to private companies to boost artificial intelligence (IA) development and adoption, according to reports.

“This kind of change doesn’t always come as easily or as quickly as I would like,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. during a speech in December to a group that included tech start-ups.

The courtship between tech start-ups and the Department of Defense (DOD) began long before public engagement with large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT: Saildrone, a start-up founded in 2013, had begun to develop an armada of AI systems to conduct surveillance in international waters in 2021.

hack a sat

A screenshot from a Space Systems Command social media video announcing the start of the Hack-a-Sat event. (Space Systems Command)

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Alexander Karp, CEO and co-founder of Palantir Technologies, wrote an open letter to European leaders just weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and urged them to modernize their armies with the help of Silicon Valley.

Fox News Digital’s Peter Aitken contributed to this report.

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