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Could You Hack Into Mars Curiosity Rover?

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the let-me-in dept.

NASA 452

MrSeb writes "NASA's Curiosity rover has now been on the surface of Mars for just over a week. It hasn't moved an inch after landing, instead focusing on orienting itself (and NASA's scientists) by taking instrument readings and snapping images of its surroundings. The first beautiful full-color images of Gale Crater are starting to trickle in, and NASA has already picked out some interesting rock formations that it will investigate further in the next few days. Over the weekend and continuing throughout today, however, Curiosity is attempting something very risky indeed: A firmware upgrade. This got me thinking: If NASA can transmit new software to a Mars rover that's hundreds of millions of miles away... why can't a hacker do the same thing? In short, there's no reason a hacker couldn't take control of Curiosity, or lock NASA out. All you would need is your own massive 230-foot dish antenna and a 400-kilowatt transmitter — or, perhaps more realistically, you could hack into NASA's computer systems, which is exactly what Chinese hackers did 13 times in 2011."

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Wikipedia has something to say about this thread (4, Interesting)

neminem (561346) | about 2 years ago | (#40977073)

Re:Wikipedia has something to say about this threa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977525)

Inception.

Re:Wikipedia has something to say about this threa (5, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 2 years ago | (#40977565)

Actually I think every /. reader already thought about the ideas of the summary least I did. Briefly, then thinking "it's probably encrypted" and not bothering further.

I would find it a huge shame if someone managed to ruin this project, by the way, and that person will be quite universally disliked...

Re:Wikipedia has something to say about this threa (4, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#40977625)

If Iran/China/etc did it, they'd be disliked, but by no means universally.

dd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977077)

It would be epic if the Chinese pull a dd-wrt firmware onto Curiosity. lol

They'll create the first intra-space wireless router

Re:dd (5, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | about 2 years ago | (#40977311)

The mars orbiters are already basically space wireless routers. If MRO weren't so broken, they'd have a high bandwidth relay link to earth through it.

The short range link between the lander and the orbiters is Proximity-1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity-1_Space_Link_Protocol [wikipedia.org]

Re:dd (5, Funny)

kimvette (919543) | about 2 years ago | (#40977415)

Good thing they're not provisioned by AT&T or Comcast, otherwise NASA would have to contend with artificial bandwidth caps. ;)

Re:dd (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977507)

Huh huh, yeah, because AT&T/Comcast should give you and everybody else a 1 Gbps pipe to the Internet for the price of a 20 Mbps connection. They are running an Internet charity, right?

Re:dd (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40977693)

The rover's only carrying 256 megabytes of RAM. NASA could completely erase-and-replace its program 12 times before going over the cellphone cap.

Also it's processor is a mere 200 MHz. My dusty-old N64 has almost as much power.

Re:dd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977703)

Bandwidth caps? Hah that's nothing compared to the long-distance fees.

Hope they don't charge by the mile...

Re:dd (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#40977443)

The mars orbiters are already basically space wireless routers.

They are wireless routers...with cameras, spectrometers, radars, and frigging' rocket engines! Too bad you can't buy one of these at your local computer store.

Re:dd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977513)

I missed the part in the Wikipedia article where it said you couldn't run a mututally authenticated, encrypted session with message integrity.

Re:dd (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40977545)

Since you seem to know things, I'll ask here. Why are they using a dish antenna to communicate with the rover. Would it be more effective to use lasers? Or is the precision needed to hit a reasonable size target at those distances just too much?

Re:dd (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#40977555)

That looks like a Layer1/Layer2 protocol, it won't get you very far without the rest of the stack.

Re:dd (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about 2 years ago | (#40977609)

They're using the 70cm Amateur Radio band [wikipedia.org] for this stuff? Thanks for posting this. I never would have guessed.

Re:dd (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40977617)

This "firmware upgrade" really isn't that big of a deal. Obviously NASA doesn't want to screw it up but they do have experience in the past. One of the first upgrades they did was in the early 90s when they reprogrammed the Voyager 2 spacecraft to take photos of poorly-lit Uranus.

That craft had never been designed to last beyond Saturn, so they had to do some new ideas like leaving the camera shutter open for several minutes AND rotating the spacecraft at the same time to avoid image blur. They also upgraded the resolution & introduced image compression so they could store all the photos during the rapid flyby.

Plus wait a full workday (9 hours) to get a response from Voyager that said "success" or "fail" on the updates. This rover upgrade is likely easy in comparson.

Re:dd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977385)

Did you just say "epic" and "lol"?
Please die immediately of AIDS.

Hops onboard Opportunity (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#40977083)

"Follow that rover" It would be like a steamroller race.

Just like the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977087)

In short, there's no reason a hacker couldn't take control of Google, or lock Sergey Brin and Larry Page out. All you would need is your own internet connection -- or perhaps more realistically...I think you see where this is going.

This is a great way... (2)

Vexler (127353) | about 2 years ago | (#40977101)

This is a great way to paint a Bull's Eye on your back while every other geek on the planet gets some type of firearm ready.

Re:This is a great way... (0, Troll)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 2 years ago | (#40977213)

Sorry to nitpick..."Bullseye" is a target, Bull's Eye is an eye belonging to a Bull.

Re:This is a great way... (0)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40977245)

Go troll elsewhere. [wikipedia.org]

Re:This is a great way... (0)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 2 years ago | (#40977433)

You utter, uneducated twat! You've really hit the Eye belonging to a Bull with your razor sharp intellect.

That's exactly the point I was making: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/bullseye?q=bullseye [oxforddictionaries.com]

Re:This is a great way... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40977647)

Yea, I realized that moments after I posted. I have no excuse.

Re:This is a great way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977505)

So, you post a link that says exactly what he says, and you call him a troll for mentioning it? What's your point?

Re:This is a great way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977689)

He meant to do that - obviously.

Re:This is a great way... (0)

damien_kane (519267) | about 2 years ago | (#40977277)

Sorry to nitpick..."Bullseye" is a target, Bull's Eye is an eye belonging to a Bull.

What's your point?
If a bull were charging at me, and I had time to aim and discharge a firearm at it in hopes of stopping it, I'd shoot at it's eye too, regardless of the presence of concentric circles surrounding my target.
At least in that respect (were I a good enough shot to not miss, and simply have the bullet bounce off of it's skull), the bullet would pass through the eye and bounce around the brain cavity, hopefully stopping it.

Re:This is a great way... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#40977377)

Everybody knows that when a bull charges you [youtube.com] , you should punch him in the stomach. Hard to get the timing right, but when you do, it works every time.

Re:This is a great way... (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#40977697)

I thought you glued sandpaper to its belly [google.com] while it was flying through the air, and then used the sandpaper to light a match, which in turn lights a fuse leading to a big explosive, which covers the bull in soot and removes tufts of its fur.

Re:This is a great way... (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 2 years ago | (#40977561)

Gaaah!, a "bullseye" is a target, a Bull's Eye, regardless of whether it was running at or away from you, is the eye of a bull.

PS "bounce off of" what the fuck sort of English is that? "bounce off" is quite sufficient.

Re:This is a great way... (0)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#40977633)

Sorry to nitpick..."Bullseye" is a target, Bull's Eye is an eye belonging to a Bull.

And "Bull's-Eye" [kraftbrands.com] is a barbeque sauce.

DSN on the Internet ? (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#40977109)

Surely the OP doesn't think the DSN is on the Internet ? It sure wasn't when I worked with it, and that was at a time when that sort of protection might have seemed paranoid.

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 2 years ago | (#40977163)

+1 internets to you...

Having said that though, nuclear power plant, on the internet, whaat..

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977221)

Well it's probably not suppose to be but then you get goober McManager that hooks up his ethernet to the internal network while leaving the wifi open, connected to some random access point, or connected via cell phone/bluetooth.

Or that 1200 baud modem sitting in a closet since the 80's that nobody remembers.

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#40977701)

+++ATDT what was the country code for mars again?

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (5, Insightful)

QuantumPion (805098) | about 2 years ago | (#40977291)

Our centrifuge controllers aren't on the internet, they couldn't possibly be affected by an e-mail worm.
--Iran

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (1)

Mr 44 (180750) | about 2 years ago | (#40977327)

Sure you don't think thats relevant? If you've got your own transmitter, you are talking directly to it.

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (2)

jacknifetoaswan (2618987) | about 2 years ago | (#40977575)

You'd still need about a thousand other ducks to line up in a row, just in order to get a command line prompt. I mean, you'd need to know what port they were using, what communications protocol, plus, where to point the damn antenna!

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40977381)

The internet doesn't have enything to do with it. If you had a big enough radio transciever, all the codes and passwords and proticols and probably a few other things, you could hack into it.

It's not likely to happen, I agree.

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#40977413)

Surely the OP doesn't think the DSN is on the Internet ?

What about the PCs controlling Curiosity? Having a back-door on a desktop is lots easier than building your own antenna.

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (1)

jacknifetoaswan (2618987) | about 2 years ago | (#40977579)

Surely the OP doesn't think the DSN is on the Internet ?

What about the PCs controlling Curiosity? Having a back-door on a desktop is lots easier than building your own antenna.

You can't back-door something that doesn't have a back-door internet connection. Unless you could get physical access to the desktops/servers, you would have no attack vector.

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (2)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 2 years ago | (#40977487)

You kid yourself.

There are so many 'safe' networks which are Internet attached: power plants, -nuclear- power plants, top secret military data, and so on. If it's on the Internet, or even on a network, it can be hacked.

The question, in this case, would be "why would I want to?" aside from someone from Anonymous having the rover beam back something immature, like a green penis picture, what's the appeal?

Governments typically want to steal the results of other governments' scientific efforts, not do the work themselves. Accessing the rover falls firmly in the "doing the work yourself" category. Unless there's some unknown military function to the rover, controlling it remotely has no appeal to a government.

Re:DSN on the Internet ? (2)

santax (1541065) | about 2 years ago | (#40977641)

Well, I for one would think it would be pretty cool to write my name in the dust with that robot and take pictures from it. "Santax wasn't here" or even better : Will you marry me -nameoftheshoelovinghumanwithbreasts- that runs around here. And a giant penis in the dust of mars is something that just has to happen. Better get it over with right now ^^

Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977121)

> All you would need is your own massive 230-foot dish antenna and a 400-kilowatt transmitter — or, perhaps more realistically, you could hack into NASA's computer systems

So now Slashdot posts Hollywood plots instead of technology news?

Even if I have "230-foot dish antenna and a 400-kilowatt transmitter", how would I know how and what to talk to the rover? Also, "you could hack into NASA's computer systems" probably involves "ssh nasa_rover_server"?

Re:Really? (4, Funny)

lengau (817416) | about 2 years ago | (#40977497)

Silly AC. All you have to do is: ssh root@curiosity.marsrover.jpl.nasa.gov The password is hunter2

Why Bother with Curiousity? (5, Insightful)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about 2 years ago | (#40977123)

We've got plenty of satellites around here that can be updated remotely, and which don't required massive, high-gain antennas to reach.

Chinese shitbag communist party hackers (-1, Troll)

ickleberry (864871) | about 2 years ago | (#40977127)

To think that they only got to where they are due to the greed of Western companies sidestepping the workforce in their own countries and outsourcing to China. Then they start hacking us, an ungrateful bunch of savages if there ever was one.

No worries (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40977133)

Hackers hate challenges.

Re:No worries (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977475)

Besides, the Motto is "Hack the Planet", so this would be clearly outside the scope.

stupid article is extremely stupid (4, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40977141)

yeah, if you could build 1:1 repllica of nasa's antenna and control operation, including encoding and possible crypt, you could hack into curiosity.

and yeah, if you could enter nasa's facilities to upload the data from there you could hack into curiosity.

somehow you should maybe be more worried about hacking into nuclear subs since the methods would essentially be the same.. and pretty much "just as easy"(I would expect curiosity control channel to have some signing system for the code it accepts..).

Re:stupid article is extremely stupid (0)

berashith (222128) | about 2 years ago | (#40977347)

yep... Curiousity was not at school yesterday because Curiousity had a doctors appt. Signed, Curiousity's Mom.

Re:stupid article is extremely stupid (2)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#40977571)

You forgot the "Dear Mr. Kotter" part.

Secret Questions (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977159)

Does anyone know A)where Curiosity was born B)Curiosity's childhood pet C)Curiosity's mother's maiden name?

Re:Secret Questions (5, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#40977209)

a) Pasadena
b) Neil Armstrong
c) Apollo

Once Again (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#40977161)

People are assuming that NASA folks didn't think of this. If I had to guess, I'd say they're doing some sort of code signing. Nation-states are obviously on a different playing field but I'm not too worried about average people.

Also, I stopped reading the article as soon as I saw the still for Hackers: The Movie at the top. Let's hope they don't hack NASA's Gibson and give it a Pac-Man virus!

CRC or MD5 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977175)

It's a firmware image. The rover has a MD5 value of the image probably downlinked by the orbiter and compares it with the image received generated MD5. If they don't match, there's something up or it could be crc'ed. Either way any alteration through data corruption or manipulation will be detected.

Re:CRC or MD5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977223)

Is this a troll? If security was as simple as a CRC or MD5, you just generate the CRC of MD5 of the hacked image you are uploading and then send that with it.

Re:CRC or MD5 (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about 2 years ago | (#40977315)

CRC can be cracked on the fly, MD5 in a few hours. Use something like SHA-512 if you just want a checksum, or sign it using a private key kept on removable media in a restricted-access safe if you want to be able to possibly run other code in the future.

Possible answer (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#40977179)

Perhaps the piece of code responsible for replacing the firmware is heavily reviewed by a group of smart mathematicians.
Security protocols requiring multiple round-trips are probably not used extensively, but perhaps they are used for setting up a session efficiently.
Possibly the thing uses one-time passwords to control access.
Etc. etc.

Oh yeah... (1, Insightful)

raydobbs (99133) | about 2 years ago | (#40977193)

...no problem... I am -so- sure they didn't secure the thing with a passcode or some other sort of sophisticated two-factor method to prevent unauthorized access. Special channels set up only for certain kinds of communication, byte-code written specifically to talk to other highly specialized machinery running custom software... I mean, it's not like they are rocket scientists....oh...wait...

Re:Oh yeah... (1)

lengau (817416) | about 2 years ago | (#40977543)

To be fair, being a rocket scientist doesn't necessarily mean you know anything about computer security. On the other hand, all the computer engineers they have there should have that covered.

Motivation? (1)

E-Prime (101087) | about 2 years ago | (#40977197)

1. Hack NASA 2. Command Curiosity 3. Produce Horde of Alien Robots 4. Invade Earth 5. Profit!!

Re:Motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977521)

You forgot the ???

No. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40977219)

I couldn't. Someone else might be able to though...

So are the Curiosity updates uncertified? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#40977231)

Because if not, even the biggest antenna won't help you hack it.

Security through unplugged cable (2)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 2 years ago | (#40977233)

I see no reason why the control system of the mars rover should be linked to anything else than the rover itself.

On the other hand, if something go badly wrong, an insulated system cannot put the blame on damn russian/chinese/iranian hackers, saving ass and injecting FUD for further "regulating" the net, in one swift move.

Therefore I am not amazed anymore to hear the rover is potentially at risk. What the risk is in practice, I dunno: let's face it, the NASA probably uses Logo to drive the rover around and nobody among black hats remembers about Logo :D

Re:Security through unplugged cable (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#40977263)

Wow, you're about as dumb as the article writer. The DSN is not connected to the Internet or any public network.

Re:Security through unplugged cable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977323)

Maybe the DSN isn't connected to the Internet, but don't you think the computers on the LAN are connected to the Internet some how? I bet they are.

The lag would discourage me. (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40977247)

It's bad enough when I have a few seconds of internet lag, let alone the amount of time it would take to send instructions to Rover and wait for a return.

plan large pauses before timing out

When you put it that way... (5, Funny)

batquux (323697) | about 2 years ago | (#40977281)

All you would need is your own massive 230-foot dish antenna and a 400-kilowatt transmitter

In that case, yes. Yes, I could.

Re:When you put it that way... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40977357)

All you would need is your own massive 230-foot dish antenna and a 400-kilowatt transmitter

In that case, yes. Yes, I could.

On your way to the Hamfest in Findlay, Ohio, then?

How would they hide the signal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977307)

I assume a signal strong enough to reach Mars could be sampled on Earth at many points to find where its origin is. Then what?

Re:How would they hide the signal? (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | about 2 years ago | (#40977631)

Some or all of the FBI, CIA, or Seal Team 6 pay the hacker a little "visit" to have a "chat" with them. With extreme prejudice.

What about receiving? (2)

bondiblueos9 (1599575) | about 2 years ago | (#40977335)

I think it would be more interesting to set up a dish to receive data from curiosity and all the other Mars projects

Re:What about receiving? (1)

lengau (817416) | about 2 years ago | (#40977583)

This is what I was thinking. All the command&control stuff is probably encrypted or otherwise secured, but what's the point in doing that for the data you're sending since it's going to end up publicly available anyway?

Mo' Betteridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977339)

The answer is no.

if they could hack blizzard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977389)

if blizzard can get hacked nasa can get hacked i guess

Proxy (5, Funny)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 2 years ago | (#40977397)

I've already configured my system to use Curiosity as anonymous proxy. They will never find me.
(obviously this message was posted 14 minutes ago)

Re:Proxy (4, Informative)

pudding7 (584715) | about 2 years ago | (#40977603)

You mean 28 minutes.

The Curiosity Rover is Unhackable & Unbreakabl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977411)

Could You Hack Into Mars Curiosity Rover?

No! [wikipedia.org]

Ta da! Instant impenetrability. Congratulations NASA for creating perfect security.

Maybe if you're a turd (1)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#40977421)

I can't even begin to imagine the kind of fuckhead that would want to hack into the rover.

Doing mischief on a corporate network is one thing. I could imagine hosts of reasons for doing so. You might be looking for stuff to sell; or to make a point that lavish CEO salaries and dividends are outrageous; spying for a foreign State; whatever.

Doing mischief on a rover that boasts a round-trip delay measured in minutes is another. You stand to gain absolutely nothing that you won't find on the NASA's web site, scientific literature, or by simply getting in touch with NASA. Except, perhaps, for the fame of getting in; if you do, I'd wager NASA will know quickly, and every three-letter acronym organization in the US would be on your ass until you're dead or in jail.

Plus as another poster suggested, hacking into a satellite requires less equipment. It additionally boasts a much shorter round-trip and a much greater potential for profit. I'd be surprised if it hasn't already been done, too.

Re:Maybe if you're a turd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977503)

I can't even begin to imagine the kind of fuckhead that would want to hack into the rover.

You're... new to the internet, aren't you?

Seriously, if it were easy to do, some waste of genetic material under the Anonymous flag would do it, fuck things up a bunch, quickly backfill some bullshit story about how they're doing this for our rights or our freedoms or whatever else, and the funny part is that you would be cheering them on.

If they brick it. . . (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 2 years ago | (#40977449)

Who are they going to send to re-flash it through the JTAG header?

Re:If they brick it. . . (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 2 years ago | (#40977553)

I can't say I'd have much of a problem if they sent Geek Squad there to do it.

We haven't mastered carbon lifeform longevity for intra-solar transit yet, have we? Good.

The ping time probably keeps hackers at bay (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 2 years ago | (#40977493)

Can't imagine this would be a fun thing to hack or that the connection is steller. Imagine typing in a command just to find out minutes later you had a typo.. I could be wrong though. I just can't imagine the connection is very good.

stop with the high school journalism headlines (1, Informative)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#40977495)

Ending headlines with question marks screams amateur. Hey editors... why don't you, you know, EDIT ?!

Don't - Just Don't (1)

rhysweatherley (193588) | about 2 years ago | (#40977501)

Curiosity is doing more science per second ON ANOTHER PLANET just sitting there checking its systems than the entire human race has achieved to date. Decades from now, scientists will still be pulling interesting information out of the data that was missed on the first pass. This is a genuine GOOD for the human race as a whole - don't screw it up to do the equivalent of spray-painting "l33tme w0z ere" on the side. Unless you're willing to pay the cost to send up a replacement robot, find something else to amuse yourself with.

Re:Don't - Just Don't (1)

confused one (671304) | about 2 years ago | (#40977675)

Don't send a replacement robot... Just send the guilty hacker to undo the damage they did. New firmware and the hardware needed to bring it back to life and instructions for doing the install.

Did I say anything about supplying a Earth-return vehicle? I didn't think so.

Boy, that showed 'em! (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40977517)

A hacker would need 4 things:

1. Technical knowledge of the project.
2. Secret codes or even live, dynamic password changes.
3. A way to transmit.
4. Incredible balls because you are looking at decades in prison for destroying billions of dollars of equipment, and you will get caught.

And if you are a state-sponsored terrorist, you can expect to get caught and your bosses can expect a bombing run or three.

Re:Boy, that showed 'em! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40977691)

> [a nerd will get caught and spend] decades in prison

At least someone will finally want sex with you.

Hundreds of millions of miles? (1)

KatchooNJ (173554) | about 2 years ago | (#40977551)

Just as a note of correction... Mars is about 35 million miles away at its closest point... which is pretty much now. It will go as far as 250 million miles away, though. When they do launches to Mars, they want it to be at its closest point, for obvious reasons.

Same way you upgrade a Cisco router (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977563)

Same way you upgrade a Cisco router 3000 miles away. Upload the firmware to flash, verify the hash of the file, reboot telling the router to use the new firmware. All across an encrypted channel.

Public Key crytography (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#40977587)

Most hacks would be stopped by public key cryptography, just sign the code with a secret key known only to a scientist (use a split key so it takes more than one person to sign a file), and then it's impossible to corrupt the image after it's been signed, and impossible to upload your own image even if you have your own transmitter (or can take over NASA's transmitter).

Of course, if your hackers break into the computers used to compile the new firmware image, then they can have all sorts of back doors that insert their nefarious code into the firmware, like maybe code to make the rover drive around to spell out "All your Mars base are belong to us" in the martian dust.

But I think any hacking group sophisticated enough to pull off that kind of hack is going to spend their time on more profitable pursuits since this kind of hack will likely not even make the news if NASA decides to cover it up, they may just say "Oops, system malfunction, we lost contact with the Rover, no further data will arrive from Mars." Then they send up a Roomba to vacuum up the evidence of the hack.

The Real Question: (-1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40977595)

Why the hell are they doing a firmware update from ~225,000,000 km away??? One would think they would have, I dunno, tested this shit before flinging it at another fucking planet.

Seriously, is Sony/EA running NASA's software department now?

There is a new update for this rover; you will be unable to continue using online features without installing the update.

Curiosity v. 1.03 Update

Re:The Real Question: (1, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#40977655)

They are switching OS from DOS to handle the landing to BSD to handle the roving. They were too cheap to buy extra storage to have both at the same time.

230 foot dish (1)

confused one (671304) | about 2 years ago | (#40977639)

Yeah, OK, I'll put that 230 foot dish on my 60 foot by 120 foot property, somewhere in the back yard perhaps, and transmit with 400kW into the skyline. Oh, I'm only 15 miles from a major naval base and around 6 miles from an Air Force base. I'm sure no one will notice...

I think I'd have better luck hacking the Chinese who hack NASA's system.

Firmware upgrade?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40977651)

It is my understanding that the reason for uploading new software is to replace the EDL (entry, descent, and landing) software with the software to drive the rover, maneuver the instruments, etc. That is the reason it hasn't driven anywhere yet. It doesn't know how. So the upload isn't really an upgrade, so much, as it is a software replacement. Correct me if I am wrong.

If I were building this thing... (2)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 2 years ago | (#40977673)

...I would have one command that couldn't be overridden, which resets the firmware to the known state that the Rover launched with. So even if a well-meaning NASA engineer bricks it, it could be made operational again and re-flashed with corrected firmware.

NASA has some pretty smart folks on staff: I imagine this feature already exists.

oh no .... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#40977687)

"No keyboard! Continue? (Y/N/Retry)"

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