Hacking The High Ground

Not content to merely cyberattack our civilian and military computer systems every second of every day, the Chinese have now taken their hacking attacks to a whole new, higher level.

Chinese Military Suspected in Hacker Attacks on U.S. Satellites

Computer hackers, possibly from the Chinese military, interfered with two U.S. government satellites four times in 2007 and 2008 through a ground station in Norway, according to a congressional commission.

The intrusions on the satellites, used for earth climate and terrain observation, underscore the potential danger posed by hackers, according to excerpts from the final draft of the annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The report is scheduled to be released next month.

“Such interference poses numerous potential threats, particularly if achieved against satellites with more sensitive functions,” according to the draft. “Access to a satellite‘s controls could allow an attacker to damage or destroy the satellite. An attacker could also deny or degrade as well as forge or otherwise manipulate the satellite’s transmission.”

See also:
Hackers Interfered With Two U.S. Satellites, Draft Report Says
Hackers Interfered With 2 US Government Satellites
Hackers reportedly behind U.S. government satellite disruptions
Hackers Targeted U.S. Government Satellites
Chinese military may have hacked US satellites
China may have hacked US satellites
Hackers Targeted U.S. Government Satellites
U.S. satellites tampered by hackers
Hackers interfered with two U.S. satellites, report says
Chinese hackers suspected of interfering with US satellites
New hacker target: Government satellites
Chinese hackers may have attacked U.S. satellites
China suspect in US satellite interference: report
US reportedly attacked by Chinese hackers linked with the military
US Satellites hacked by Chinese Military says Congressional Commission

Given their ongoing and constant obsession with conducting cyberwarfare, it’s hardly surprising that the Chinese would be interested in attacking satellites. After all, in the event of hostilities, taking out the enemy’s satellites would effectively render them “blind”. The U.S. military is particularly dependent on satellite technology for communication and navigation, so it would only be logical for the Chinese, either by hacking or with kinetic strikes, to attempt to neutralize our satellite network and with it our technological advantage. The question is, what are we doing to counter this extremely obvious and serious threat?

/does anyone still remember how to navigate using a map and compass?

Back In The Soyuz Again?

The good news is that we probably won’t have to abandon the International Space Station after all. The bad news is that we’re still dependent on the Russians to get our astronauts there.

NASA Confirms Russian Soyuz Failure Findings

An independent NASA panel reviewing data related to the Aug. 24 failure of the Russian Soyuz rocket transporting cargo to the International Space Station has confirmed that the Russian space agency correctly identified the cause of the problem and is taking appropriate steps to resolve it before the rocket’s next launch scheduled for Oct. 30, said William H. Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, determined that the most likely cause of the failure was contamination in the rocket’s fuel lines or stabilizer valve, which caused low fuel supply to the gas generator, Gerstenmaier told lawmakers Oct. 12 during a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s space and aeronautics panel.

See also:
NASA review clears way for manned Soyuz flights
Russian Soyuz Recovery Strategy Endorsed
NASA ‘confident’ Russia’s Soyuz rocket safe
NASA says Soyuz rockets safe for American astronauts
Russian Rocket Failure Shouldn’t Force Space Station Evacuation, NASA Tells Lawmakers
NASA Gives Blessing for Soyuz Rocket, Which is Ready for Takeoff [PHOTOS]
August’s Russian rocket failure is unlikely to force evacuation of the International Space Station
NASA Says Russian Soyuz Flight Risk Low
NASA offers Congress assurances over space station

Hopefully, the Russians have come to the correct conclusion as to what the glitch was on last August’s failed resupply flight and have taken the proper actions to fix the problem.

/although I’d feel a whole lot better if the next Soyuz flight, the first since the August crash, wasn’t manned, just in case the Russians still have it wrong

Slip Slidin’ Away

Gee, the weasel politicians in Washington continue to abdicate their responsibility and keep kicking the can down the road and the Social Security and Medicare insolvency problem keeps getting worse year after year. Go figure.

Financial Outlook Worsens for Social Security, Medicare

Social Security and Medicare’s annual checkup found that the entitlement system continues to face long-term financial challenges. The Social Security trust fund is expected to be exhausted in 2036, one year sooner than was projected last year. And the date Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund is projected to be depleted has advanced up to 2024, five years earlier than in last year’s report. Once those dates pass, there will only be sufficient resources coming in to pay out about 77 percent of scheduled Social Security benefits and 90 percent of retirees hospital insurance costs, unless changes are made to the program.

Read the Medicare trustees’ report:

2011 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BOARDS OF TRUSTEES OF THE FEDERAL HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTARY MEDICAL INSURANCE TRUST FUNDS

See also:
Social Security Board of Trustees: Projected Trust Fund Exhaustion
One Year Sooner

Outlook Worsening for Social Security, Medicare, Trustees Say
New report warns Social Security, Medicare could run out of money even earlier than feared
Outlook for Social Security, Medicare Poor: Trustees
Medicare could run out of money sooner than previously predicted
Bleaker outlook for Social Security, Medicare
Outlook for Medicare, Social Security worsens
Government: How bad is the news about Social Security?
Medicare and Social Security Trustees report: Capitol Hill reaction
Medicare funds will be depleted in 13 years, report says

And, since we’re already into the 2012 election cycle, I wouldn’t expect Obama or Congress to step up and have the courage to make the hard, politically unpopular decisions that will have to be made in order to put Medicare and Social Security back on the path to solvency. Just look at how Paul Ryan is already being attacked for lucidly speaking truth to the demagogues. And so, next year, there’ll be another report telling us that the insolvency problem for Medicare and Social Security has gotten even worse.

/seriously, you didn’t really think you were going to collect Medicare and Social Security benefits, did you?