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GPS in peril?

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Computer crackers have obtained access to computer systems codes used in America's space program.

According to a report by Reuters, investigators who raided the office of an information technology firm in Sweden last month found the source code for a sensitive program called OS/Comet, which was developed by US firm Exigent Software Technology.

OS/Comet provides the command and control interface between the GPS (Global Positioning System) Master Control Station (MCS) and the GPS satellites as a replacement for older technologies. Last December, Exigent announced the technology has been deployed by the Space Command division of the US Air Force in a monitoring station in the Navstar GPS network.

It is suspected the source codes for the software, which would allow an expert to determine how a software program works, were obtained by hackers who broke into the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC on Christmas Eve last year.

Reuters quotes Johan Starell, legal counsel for Exigent in Sweden, who told the agency that after the attack was discovered on December 27 the trail led to Freebox.com, a server owned by Swedish IT company Carbonide, which is believed to be a completely innocent party in the attack.

Analysis of the Carbonide server revealed that a cracker, called LEEIF, had used the machine after hijacking the account of a legitimate Freebox.com user.

"We couldn't get any further information about where it came from or find out if it had been copied and sent elsewhere," Starell told Reuters. "Sweden seems like a closed chapter."

Enquiries to Exigent about the matter from The Register were by met by stony silence by the firm, which told us it had no comment on the subject. ®

External links

Info on OS/Comet Exigent

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