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China responds to satellite hack charge: 'Nuh-uh!'

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Surprising no one, the Chinese government has denied that it had anything to do with the hacking of two US satellites in 2007 and 2008.

"This report is untrue and has ulterior motives. It's not worth a comment," commented Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a Monday press briefing, reports Reuters.

The report to which Hong was referring was a draft of the annual report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which didn't detail the exact natures of the hack of the two US satellitesTerra (EOS AM-1) and Landsat 7 – although it did note that "the responsible party achieved all steps required to command the satellite."

"Such interference poses numerous potential threats, particularly if achieved against satellites with more sensitive functions," the draft said. "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."

The report did not specifically specifically name China as the "reponsible party", but it did point out that the Chinese military has discussed investigating how to disable enemy space-based observation systems, including "ground-based infrastructure, such as satellite control facilities."

Frankly, if the militaries of all spacefaring nations aren't investigating such possibilities, they should be denounced for dereliction of duty.

Neither Reuters nor The Guardian, which also reported Hong's remarks, noted whether spokesman Hong was able to keep a straight face when he said: "China is also a victim of hacker attacks and we oppose any form of cybercrimes including hacking." ®

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