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Falun Gong Hacks Chinese Satellite

timothy posted about 12 years ago | from the egg-on-face dept.

Security 584

maetenloch writes: "Last week Falun Gong hackers in China were able to briefly take over the Sinosat-1 satellite and broadcast a banner for several minutes on all channels of China Central Television. This was apparently repeated several time on different channels on Sunday but so far the Chinese government has imposed a news blackout on the incident. However thanks to the Internet and the millions of witnesses, word has leaked out. Surprisingly, security on satellites can be very weak - often transponders are left on when not active and will continue to rebroadcast whatever is beamed at them. It's believed that Falun Gong used a 3 meter dish antenna mounted on a vehicle to overpower the government's uplink signal. This is not the only time that satellite signals have been hacked - there was the famous 'Captain Midnight' incident in 1986 and it's believed that Iraq has been attacking Kurdish satellite tv channels for several years. Hackers have even (discreetly) made use of the U.S. Navy's FleetSatCom satellites."

cancel ×


Frost Pist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813666)

# Script to screw over the Slashcode 2.0 Compression filter

# Roughly right for English text, all lowercase but who cares?
chars = %q[aaaaaaaabbcccddddeeeeeeeeeeeeffgghhhhhhiiiiiiik llll] +
%q[mmnnnnnnnoooooooopprrrrrrsssssstttttttttuuuvwwy y] +
(%q[ ] * 35) +

# Start with this...
text = 'Confusius say: '

# Add some text...
(5000 + (rand 5000)).times {
text << chars[(rand chars.length), 1]

# Print it out
print text

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813675)

and, weeeeeeee.

Video Clip (1)

shamage (113829) | about 12 years ago | (#3813676)

Anybody got a video clip of the feed ?

What's the point of this? (-1, Offtopic)

Win-Developer (316016) | about 12 years ago | (#3813685)

I don't understand why someone would hack into a satellite and disrupt broadcasting other than to say "Ha we're more l33t than the goverment!"

Of course I never understood why people feel the need to comprimise system security "for the good of all people"

Re:What's the point of this? (2, Informative)

kpetruse (572247) | about 12 years ago | (#3813762)

Because the Chinese government aren't exactly great at the whole freedom of speech thing.

Because they've been imprisoning Falun Gong members for years now.

Because Falun Gong feel that they have no way of expressing their views to the population.

Saying that, this isn't exactly a clever thing to do. I can't imagine the Government are going to take it very well. Of course, unless the government are doing it themselves to discredit Falun Gong, but that's getting a bit Ollie Stone for me...

Re:What's the point of this? (1)

nege (263655) | about 12 years ago | (#3813797)

China could be considered to have an overbearing communist government. I know that I would want to hack government satalites to show my dissaproval. It would be cool if it was some sort of anti-government message. (Sort of like in Johnny Mnemonic. It would be even cooler if the hackers 3' satalite was strapped to the back of a dolphin swimming in a 10x10' wave pool! where'd I put that dang 3' satalite...heeeeere flipper...)

Disregard the politics for a second (4, Interesting)

ringbarer (545020) | about 12 years ago | (#3813688)

Whatever you think of Falun Gong vs. The Chinese Government, you've got to admit that this is a cool hack. The kind of thing you used to see in 'futuristicky' 1980's sci-fi movies.

Moments like this, along with the Anthrax outbreak last year, are beginning to define socio-political conflict in the 21st Century.

Re:Disregard the politics for a second (2, Insightful)

stevenbee (227371) | about 12 years ago | (#3813717)

beginning to define socio-political conflict in the 21st Century

The problem is, though -- brute force is still very effective at neutralizing dissent, even if the dissenters are canny at manipulating electronic media content and delivery systems.
But yeah, it does seem as though traditional control mechanisms are slipping a bit.

Linux is Dead (-1)

pwpbot (588025) | about 12 years ago | (#3813692)

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Goes to show.... (1)

sardaukar_siet (559610) | about 12 years ago | (#3813694)

It has often been said that satellite security is swiss-like (as in cheese)... Hope some people wise up after this. Reminds me of a piece of news on a portuguese newspaper some time ago about free wireless network access in most of Lisbon's downtown area - I mean, what are these new age non-bearded, non-glass-wearing, non-hacker-humour-appreciative ops thinking?

Re:Goes to show.... (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | about 12 years ago | (#3813756)

as always... there's a moronic american hwo thinks Swiss cheese has holes.
well, you might be confused with French Gruyere which actually has, unlike Swiss GruyereS !

Captain Midnight (2)

totallygeek (263191) | about 12 years ago | (#3813700)

HBO [] could have been very creative in their marketing after that incident. Someone going to those great lengths in an attempt to watch HBO without paying for it....

Falun gong (0, Flamebait)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 12 years ago | (#3813702)

Criminal hackers or religious zealots?

The answer is clear.

Re:Falun gong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813743)

No more zealot than a Jew trying to get the message out about persecution by the Nazis.

Re:Falun gong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813858)

Hey, Godwin, hows it hanging!

Ignorant! (3, Interesting)

Outland Traveller (12138) | about 12 years ago | (#3813791)

Try "Civil Rights Activists", and before you rail at me for being some so-called militant leftist, why don't you actually research the recent government reaction to the Falung Gong movement in China.

Hacked, eh? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813704)

Hmmm. So they hacked the satelite, did they? They didn't just broadcast a stronger signal then from the ground then?

Stirring a Hornet's nest (3, Insightful)

shr1n1 (263515) | about 12 years ago | (#3813705)

The government has been cracking down on this supposedly spiritual movement. This would surely stoke the fire even more.

I don't why they would want to do this. This is hardly a good public relations move. Smells like a childish prank by some teenagers.

No doubt the most of the Falun Gonger's are mortified by now.

Re:Stirring a Hornet's nest (3, Insightful)

nemesisj (305482) | about 12 years ago | (#3813789)

"The government has been cracking down on this supposedly spiritual movement."

I'm not sure why you threw in the "supposedly spiritual" comment - sounds alot like FUD. I don't agree with the Falun Gong's philosophy by any means, but theirs no room to or point in denying that they're a quasi-religious, spiritual movement.

"I don't why they would want to do this. This is hardly a good public relations move. Smells like a childish prank by some teenagers."

There is no such thing as bad publicity and in China, there is NO publicity. Most Chinese have no idea what the Falun Gong movement is, apart from what the government tells them, which usually are along the lines of "Falun Gong members eat their children." Seriously. Would you have been calling the civil rights activists childish when they tried to ride all white buses? Give me a break.

Re:Stirring a Hornet's nest (2, Insightful)

dalutong (260603) | about 12 years ago | (#3813948)

"supposedly spirtual" was added because it's not a spiritual movement. It's a political movement. (Lead by a guy hiding in NY while his followers get themselves killed either by burning themselves or by getting thrown in jail for eternity)

They are not out to reform the Chinese government like the civil rights groups here in american have been. they are out to topple it. and if they do, millions upon millions will die -- starving to death -- because Falungong has no plan as to how to keep 1.3 billion people properly fed.

That's why it's "childish." It is an irresponsible proposal which, today, will only lead to more death.

Maybe it's insulting to equate "childish" with "irresponsible." But that's what the parent poster meant.

Re:Stirring a Hornet's nest (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813887)

Perhaps you've forgotten why we call the Chinese the "Chi-Coms?" The Chinese government is a Communist dictatorship, which makes it a hateful and horrific institution. Any show of rebellion against it is good. There is a reason why we in the West have such excellent living conditions while those who refuse to accept our way of life are living in squalor.

Communism is hateful and about the worst thing on the planet. Falun Gong's actions were not "childish" or teenagerish. They were decent, moral, and an affirmation that not all of the Chinese race are blind slaves to Communism. And if a billion Chinese saw their message, then that is even better. Hopefully they will overthrow their dictatorship within the next decade and become a true democracy.

Department (4, Funny) (71379) | about 12 years ago | (#3813706)

Shouldn't that be the egg-foo-yung-on-face-dept.?

They Should Have... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813708)

...dressed up in alien costumes and announced an invasion.

Mod parent up! (1, Redundant)

popeyethesailor (325796) | about 12 years ago | (#3813828)

Well this story looks best for an "All your base" comment.. anyone?

Falun Gong (0)

Vought 28 (584320) | about 12 years ago | (#3813719)

The Falun Gong is a peacefull organization, intellectuals committed to teaching by example. Sort of a Chinese version of Slashdot.

Re:Falun Gong (5, Funny)

sunking2 (521698) | about 12 years ago | (#3813771)

Please, don't discredit them by comparing them to Slashdot. Surely, they have more to offer.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

gentix (559742) | about 12 years ago | (#3813783)

Maybe they preach peace and spirituality in principle, but this kind of stuff is going a little too far IMO, and won't do them much good as this is the opposite of practising what they preach. It's not much better than spam, and I for one wouldn't want my Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode to be interrupted with any form of spam. As if there aren't enough commercial blocks already. Trying to force your ideas upon others is never a good thing, and I can't imagine what they were trying to accomplish here other than pissing off some people.

Spam (2, Insightful)

vrai (521708) | about 12 years ago | (#3813823)

In the USA or Europe, or indeed most of the world your complaint would be valid. After all they could just pay for a TV advert like anyone else. However in China they aren't allowed to spread their message by any legal means, the Chinese dictatorship censors all their publicity, and are frequently slandered by the government (who basically tell the Chinese public that Falun Gong enjoy toturing kittens and such like).

Given this climate I think Falun Gong were justified in their actions (they didn't actually damage anything, or hurt anyone), if only to help reverse some of the FUD that the Chinese leadership spread about them.

Re:Falun Gong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813870)

Obviously you know a lot about the culture in China. Like you, they hate nasty interruptions to their TV drug doses. And like you, they have the freedom to choose from hundreds of channels of television.
It is OK to put people that do not follow a state sponsered religion into prison. It is ok to kill protesters. Obviously Buffy comes before anything to you.
It isn't like these people are pissing in your cereal. They are risking their lives trying to open up channels of communication that the government has closed off.
Believe me, I think they would rather spread their message through normal channels of communication than go to this extreme.
Of course, they believe in something other than Buffy.
I only hope that you are trolling, as you seem to have lost sight of your humanity.

Re:Falun Gong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813790)

That's why they hack satellites, right?

Nothing against them, but "borrowing" someone's property for a few minutes doesn't strike me as very peaceful or a good example. More peaceful than suicide bombing, though.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

jhampson (580482) | about 12 years ago | (#3813886)

Hello! Uh they're commies. It's everyone's property.

Re:Falun Gong (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | about 12 years ago | (#3813888)

The Falun Gong is a peacefull organization, intellectuals committed to teaching by example.

Far from it. Do you actually know much about the Falun Gong movement? It's not confined to China you know.

The Falun Gong is essentially a brainwashing cult, similar in style to scientology (though not belief). Its teachings, amongst other things, state that it is possible for a person to survive without food or water and exist just on pure light alone.

Fortean Times [] ran a feature on them around a year or so ago...they are not some zen sect, they are are seriously dubious organisation.

I've been interested to see how the Western press overlooks the nature of the Falon Gong in their rush to show how evil China is. You never hear what the group actually stands for when listening to reports about them.

The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.


First they hack bandwidth... (2, Funny)

LaserBeams (412546) | about 12 years ago | (#3813722) they'll be stealing our megahertz =P

Falun Gong hacks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813723)

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Falun Gong rather anti-technology? Wonder how well hacking a satellite goes with their own philosothy...

Reminds me of that scene in Hackers (2, Troll)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | about 12 years ago | (#3813729)

"I feel kinda like god." The chinese are horrible at defacing websites. I mean come on. Can't you be a little clever and do something more exciting than "Hacked by Chinese!" or "Falun Gong is Good!"

Re:Reminds me of that scene in Hackers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813742)

Ying tong diddle i po and special flied lice. You have horse any yes? YES?

Re:Reminds me of that scene in Hackers (4, Funny)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | about 12 years ago | (#3813759)


Re:Reminds me of that scene in Hackers (2)

Brian Stretch (5304) | about 12 years ago | (#3813808)

How about:

"Hey you commies, Meditate This!"
"Your mother wears Mao suits."
"The satellite is mightier than the tank."

(It's the best I can do until the caffeine kicks in...)

Re:Reminds me of that scene in Hackers (2, Interesting)

dalutong (260603) | about 12 years ago | (#3813878)

I'd say that very few of the hacks that say "Hacked by Chinese" are actually by mainland Chinese....

they may be taiwanese or falungong members... but probably not mainlanders. (Why to I think this? I've been in the Chinese tech industry for almost a decade now and I don't think that many mainlanders would see a point to hacking a site and leaving that message. They just don't have the motivation. Also, as I do follow the news both here (US) and ther (China), I'd say that some falungong or taiwan crazies have more motivation (making China look like the backwards police state that everyone seems to want to believe) than the mainlanders do) .02

China can't keep all the news out. (3, Interesting)

tcm614ce (570300) | about 12 years ago | (#3813732)

With the internet now readily available in Beijing, it's very difficult for the ChiComs to keep news like this from the general public. I seems to me at first glance that tricks like this could be a good way to undermine a particular government's confidence in it's "right" to rule. Similar stunts all put together over many years time (e.g. Boston Tea Party) have worked in the past...

Re:China can't keep all the news out. (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 12 years ago | (#3813850)

With the internet now readily available in Beijing, it's very difficult for the ChiComs to keep news like this from the general public

You're forgetting that they don't even need the internet to get this public. I mean, the hack was broadcasted to the public already, which was its entire point.

Re:China can't keep all the news out. (3, Interesting)

nemesisj (305482) | about 12 years ago | (#3813864)

Sigh. Why's it so difficult to keep news like this from the public? Did you read the article and here how the Chinese news was reporting that the picture was "fuzzy" and "only displayed for about 20 seconds"? This happened in one province of China, so that leaves about a billion people left who didn't see it for themselves. Here's a quote from a previous post of mine about China and the internet:

"Also, why can't they control the internet? They own all the infrastructure, the ISPs, the cable, everything. You're not very informed to think they just can't turn off whatever they want. They block all of geocities and angelfire, and often block cnn and other news sites when some issue that is sensitive to the government is happening. Don't underestimate what a determined dictatorship can accomplish, especially when they hold all of the cards."

Another point - why does it matter if the people aren't convinced that the CCP has the right to rule? The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) has all the guns, military, etc. and revolt is downright impossible.

Re:China can't keep all the news out. (1)

tcm614ce (570300) | about 12 years ago | (#3813940)

You're not very informed to think they just can't turn off whatever they want.

You're right. They do turn off anything they want ( for instance). But short of turning off everything outside .cn they really can't filter very much that they don't want people to know. (second hand knowledge BTW :-).

There goes to show... (0, Troll)

lay (519543) | about 12 years ago | (#3813735)

You can actualy see how "security" in systems has been uncautiously implemented. With all this hype in the last months since Set. 11 about security, you get government satelite signals hacked.

What is the most ridiculous is that this is some serious stuff. Everyone knows that the military are years ahead of civil society in terms ov technological advancement (OK, maybe they weaken out in a couple of things, but you get the picture). So what do you get when the power to easily interfere in satelite communications is available to civil society? Take some guesses...

Even more than the use that individual citizens could give to it (don't get me started with the "terrorist" stuff, not everybody is as paranoid about it as you american guys. People in Europe don't worry as much as you), I just think of the power that the corporations can acheive trough this.

Yeah, Detroit, Robocop, stuff. Call me insane.

Re:There goes to show... (3, Informative)

Dunall (470871) | about 12 years ago | (#3813832)

Everyone knows that the military are years ahead of civil society in terms ov technological advancement (OK, maybe they weaken out in a couple of things, but you get the picture). So what do you get when the power to easily interfere in satelite communications is available to civil society? Take some guesses...

Not true... I was using circa 1970 equipment in the mid 90's when I was doing satellite control/operations.

They were warned (-1, Flamebait)

Jack Wagner (444727) | about 12 years ago | (#3813736)

Wagner Consulting did some consulting work for the Chinese ministry of telecom infrastructure in the mid 90's when I was an expat and at that time they were attempting to migrate from the old BSDish SYSV3 TCP/IP to the newest, which at that time was still BSD based and wide open to hackers. The real issue was the need to encrypt the packets at the final TC link before they were run through the RF translator and sent into the air. At that time they are open to intercept by anyone with a mobile phone and a simple electric razor. It's quite simple to use the steel filiments which reside in the razor as an conductor for the mobile phone to pick up any satalitte channel you wish.

At that point you simply program your mobile phone to send out the pirated signals and you pretty much own them. Meanwhile a simple RC3 encryption scheme would have prevented this whole mess.

As a side note I left my position with them due to this very issue so at not to disparage the reputation of Wagner Consulting.

Jack Wagner.

You forgot to add this to the end of your post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813809)

"...and when I got up to leave after our last consulting meeting, Mao Zedong said 'your fly is open'. Before I could look down to check, he grabbed my waistband and poured a bowl of hot grits down the front of my pants."

Jack Wagner. That's a great handle for a troll.

Falun Gong are terrorists. (1, Troll)

sinserve (455889) | about 12 years ago | (#3813746)

Using crime to make yourself heard makes one a "terrorist", as per U.S tradition,
and two wrongs never make it right.

As an American who always supports the civil rights of all people everywhere,
including religous freedom, I condemn this action and label it as "cheap shot",
no matter the technical-coolness factor associated with it.

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (3, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | about 12 years ago | (#3813811)

So I guess you see nothing wrong with the civil rights violations associated with the chinese government. As long as it's not agains their laws.

Since you said you're an American, don't you realize that you're an American only because some TERRORISTS back in the 1700's decided to BREAK THE LAW and rebel against their government?

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (3, Interesting)

sinserve (455889) | about 12 years ago | (#3813884)

By that defenition, the self bombing palestenians who are resisting the
israeli occupation are NOT terrorists but freedom fighters. Do I read you

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813907)

Get some perspective - hijacking a satellite hurts no one. Resistance like this should be encouraged.

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (0)

c00lant (550309) | about 12 years ago | (#3813929)

its patritism, our ancesters did it. These guys aren't strapping bombs to themselves, maybe you just don't understand what is happening in china right now but there are many movements like this one, these guys just happen to use technology and spiritual ways. Sure, it's a crime but thats only by the defenition of china, which i think does need to change. By revolt, or otherwise. The way things have been going i can see some sort of civil war on the horizon.

and i believe some palistinians are freedom fighters. but strapping bombs to yourselves, wives, children.. thats wrong, and your right in saying it is terrorism no matter what, and often destroys the point of what they're trying to achive.

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (3, Insightful)

Peyna (14792) | about 12 years ago | (#3813821)

Funny, what do you think happened during our war of independence? Surely all of our soldiers in the war were terrorists. I'm sure had the events taken place a few hundred years later you would see us doing similar things as you see here.

The problem is that no clear-cut definition of what a terrorist is exists at this point. I call upon the US and International bodies to come up with a clear, accurate, definition of what a terrorist is. Otherwise, every common criminal (or accused person) could be labelled a terrorist and end up losing their rights granted by the constitution.

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | about 12 years ago | (#3813868)

If the United States rebels had sent disguised people with bombs into taverns in cities like Boston where British soldiers were taking a break, and killed a mix of soldiers and civillians, they would have been terrorists.

Terrorists nondiscriminatly and deliberately kill civillians, and aim to spread terror throughout non-military populations. The definition is commonly known.

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813943)

What did the Atomic Bomb do?

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (3, Informative)

dalutong (260603) | about 12 years ago | (#3813914)

I've not read the parent... but I'll just comment on Falungong anyway. I have no respect for them.

They lie about being the ones to develop qigong (which has been around for thousands of years)
They use spirituality to promote their own political agenda.
And, what makes me the most mad, their leader hides out in NY while he has his followers in China gettings themselves killed (both by burning themselves and pulling stunts like this)

I'd call it a personality cult.

Oh -- and they have no political plan that's viable. This, in my opinion, is very irresponsible and dangerous. Many millions of people would die should there be revolution in china. many millions more would die if there wasn't a VERY strong government after the revolution.

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (2)

danheskett (178529) | about 12 years ago | (#3813924)

During the American Revolution, there were two main elements fighting against the British.

First, there were the guerillas. Fire, run, attack, run, hide. That type of thing.

Second, there was "regular army". Regular army is an actual army - officers, training, disciple, uniforms, showing up for battles, etc.

The guerillas were terrorists, the Continental Army were not.

As for the contemporary issue, the thing is pretty easily defined. If you are a American citizen, no matter what, the Constitution applies to you and your crimes. If you are an American citizen and a regular solider then the Constitution, various Military law, plus the law of the land you are in all apply (plus relevant international law). If you are foreigner, then treaty applies. If you are a foreigner and part of regular army, treaty plus international law applies.

These distinctions have been aroudn a while, nothing has changed. Soliders in regular armies, aka "regulars" are soliders, and never terrorists.

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (1)

lfourrier (209630) | about 12 years ago | (#3813944)

It is easy :
terrorist are the wrong guys (those who don't control the media).
Why is Julius Caesar considered as a good general ?
Because he was the one who wrote the story^H^H^H^H^Hhistory.
Why were revolutianary in France and US good guys ?
Because they won.

huh? (2)

mikeee (137160) | about 12 years ago | (#3813846)

No, terrorizing people to make yourself heard makes you a terrorist.

Sit-ins are not terrorism. (They're ususally stupid, but that's another issue.)

Ben Franklin + his homies... (0)

crow_t_robot (528562) | about 12 years ago | (#3813951)

...were all terrorists! And we celebrate their pictures everywhere...even on our money! I agree with you that change can only happen by sending polite and eye-pleasing greeting cards!

Re:Falun Gong are terrorists. (2, Insightful)

phil reed (626) | about 12 years ago | (#3813953)

Using crime to make yourself heard makes one a "terrorist", as per U.S tradition, and two wrongs never make it right.

I'm sure Martin Luther King and Ghandi would be amused to hear civil disobedience equated with terrorism. And in the logic of civil disobedience, it's justifiable to violate an unjust law.

You need to be thinking on the next level up.

Friends of Falun Gong (5, Informative)

ronfar (52216) | about 12 years ago | (#3813748)

The main Friends of Falun Gong Website is here:

Friends of Falun Gong []

The Falun Gong take on the story is here:

Revealing Broadcasts Are Truly Serving the People-- From the Editors of Falun Gong Practitioners Risk their Lives to Tell the Truth []

If you would like to help out the cause, there is a page about it here:

Become a Friend- Alleviate the Suffering, End the Injustice []

analogy (2)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | about 12 years ago | (#3813752)

This sounds to me like satellites are the ultimate open proxy. (Are any transponders given the number 8080?)

[hint for those who don't know what I mean: on a computer with a misconfig'd open proxy, this usually can be found by scanning for an open port 8080]

Only the begining (0)

ZipperHead99 (121585) | about 12 years ago | (#3813767)

"Falun Gong's recorded telephone message ... claimed the Government had fabricated the incident in which three Falun Gong supporters set themselves alight in Tiananmen Square in January 2001."

I believe this only the begining of China's hacking problem. An oppresive government is a breeding ground for groups like this. I only wish hacking groups in America had more politcal agendas then Yahoo or your favorite airline.

But are you SURE (4, Funny)

Mr Guy (547690) | about 12 years ago | (#3813772)

Are we very sure they weren't trying to signal AMSAT-OSCAR 7 [] and just missed?

Doubtful (3, Interesting)

zaren (204877) | about 12 years ago | (#3813774)

From what (little) I know about Falun Gong, hacking a satellite doesn't sound like something they'd do, since it's much more likely to be illegal than a sit-down type protest, and MUCH more likely to bring the jackboots down on them.

I'm inclined to think it was some other band of kiddiez that just wanted a good cover for their actions, like the "Hacked By Chinese" incidents from last year.

Darwin is an evolutionary OS [] ...
Apple hardware still too expensive for you? How about a raffle ticket? []

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813885)

Would you please stop spamming us with your 'raffle ticket' tagline.

There are very specific mechanisms on this site for how to put a tagline after your comment. These mechanisms allow those of us who don't want to see taglines to disable them.

Plopping your tagline manually at the end of every comment you write is spamming, plain and simple. Please desist.

Not a slashdotter (1, Offtopic)

Myshkin (34701) | about 12 years ago | (#3813775)

Obviously this was not done by anyone that would regularly visit slashdot, because clearly any self-respecting slashdotter would have used this precious broadcasting time to make a plea to Natalie Portman to go out on a date with them.

Who's the "terrorist?" (1)

writermike (57327) | about 12 years ago | (#3813776)

Since the media tends to label groups as "terrorist" and "not-terrorist" these days, which light do you think will shine on Falun?

Are the Falun terrorists for "hijacking" Chinese TV? Or are they rebels in a quest against the evil empire?

Re:Who's the "terrorist?" (3, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | about 12 years ago | (#3813827)

Are the Falun terrorists for "hijacking" Chinese TV?

I doubt they will be branded as terrorists, since no harm or threat was caused by this prank. However, the government will be in its rights to question every FG member, and maybe arrest a lot of them for participation in this deed.

But the more FG does what it just did, the clearer it becomes for the West that FG is indeed what Chinese government claimed all along - an army of militants, not a health club. The hack of a satellite falls into territory of sabotage and propaganda, something that health clubs don't do.

Re:Who's the "terrorist?" (5, Interesting)

bourne (539955) | about 12 years ago | (#3813833)

Are the Falun terrorists for "hijacking" Chinese TV? Or are they rebels in a quest against the evil empire?

Insofar as they aren't practicing any actual form of terror, I'm going to vote "not terrorist."

To the best of my knowledge, they aren't...

  • Attacking or killing non-combatants
  • Threatening harm to non-combatants
  • Attacking or killing police or military forces
  • Threatening harm to police or military forces
  • Threatening vital public infrastructure

I think, at worst, you could call them an insurgent organization. But in my book, no terror = no terrorism - and popping "falun gong is good" on the telly signal for a few seconds is not "terror" by any definition I've ever heard.

am -- ssb (2)

rnd() (118781) | about 12 years ago | (#3813782)

How could it be that wireless telephones using AM modulation were converted to SSB signals?

An AM signal is composed of two ssb signals (lower and upper sideband) and a carrier wave:


It is trivial that using an SSB receiver you will be able to hear an AM signal. The only difference is that you may only listen to one sideband at a time.

What is Falun Gong? (2)

Peyna (14792) | about 12 years ago | (#3813793)

Could someone give us a brief overview of what exactly Falun Gong is? Besides a group that is persecuted in China. (I see groups of Falun Gong supporters out downtown here every weekend, but I never bothered to ask what it was.)

Re:What is Falun Gong? (0)

kunsan (189020) | about 12 years ago | (#3813802)

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is said to be a form of qigong which aims to refine the body and mind through special exercises and meditation similar to tai chi. But Falun Gong also incorporates Buddhist and Taoist principles, combined with exercise and body cultivation. Falun Gong distinguishes itself from other qigong practices by emphasizing not only the physical but also moral character. They deny being a religion.

Re:What is Falun Gong? (2)

Peyna (14792) | about 12 years ago | (#3813836)

Okay, so why does China not like them?

Re:What is Falun Gong? (1)

kpetruse (572247) | about 12 years ago | (#3813898)

The Chinese Government doesn't like them because it's a communist, non democratic government that sure doesn't like large numbers of people openly believing in something contrary to the party line. The Falun Gong are out of the Communist parties control, so the party does what it can to crack down on them. They see the Falun Gong as a threat, which in some ways, it is.

This isn't an anti-Chinese rant, it's an anti-repressive Communist government rant.

Re:What is Falun Gong? (0)

kunsan (189020) | about 12 years ago | (#3813904)

>>>>Okay, so why does China not like them?

Primarily because their membership grew larger than the total membership of the ruling communist party. The rationale being that Anything "bigger" than the party IS a threat to the party. Thats a little simplified, but explaining the chinese rationale is difficult, to say the least.

Re:What is Falun Gong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813931)


Re:What is Falun Gong? (5, Informative)

ronfar (52216) | about 12 years ago | (#3813860)

Here you go:

What is Falun Gong []

Falun Gong is basically similar to traditional Chinese religions such as Buddhism and Taoism, and centers on meditation as a means of physical and spiritual self-improvement.

It began as an exercise society, which tried to get official status with the government. When the government refused the group staged a mass, peaceful demonstration, hoping to change the minds of the government.

This was a failure, and the government decided to eradicate the group by any means necessary. The techniques include murder, torture and heavy propaganda on the state run TV. The main fear of the government is that before the government decided it was a threat the group had gained a lot of members, including some people who were also communist party members.

Re:What is Falun Gong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813908)

Well Einstein, next time you see them downtime why not actually ask them?

U.S. Navy Sats (1)

zaqattack911 (532040) | about 12 years ago | (#3813798)

Could someone please explain the "Star Trek" symbol on the U.S. Navy FleetSatCom website that's linked in this article?


anyone record it? (1)

rlthomps-1 (545290) | about 12 years ago | (#3813815)

I wonder what the banner said... "Hacked by Chinese"?

Not Suprised (5, Interesting)

Dunall (470871) | about 12 years ago | (#3813816)

As an ex-satellite controller for the U.S Government, I'm not suprised this has happened. The typical TV satellites aren't encrypted and all it really takes is a very strong signal on the right frequency in the right part of the sky (easy to find with a rf power meter).. I don't think military or most communications/data satellites are capabale of the same type of hacks.. Military satellites all use strong encryption on both the uplink and downlink and have the ability to null particular receive areas, via the honeycomb array'd antenna. A couple times every day the transmit from the satellite is optimized to keep us from placing beams in countries that don't need to see our comms... I've personally done that countless times.

The only way you could possibly hurt a military satellite is to blast it with power... However once that's done, controlers in the NOC see it.. Null rx, and send the lat and long if the source of the spike on to whoever needs to be notified (Falcon AFB for Air Force and Army). Spikes are the only cheap and effective way of hacking, however our SSMA communications defeats that easily.. Not that much of SATCOM is SSMA, but the really important shit is.

For a truly effective hack, you'd have to jam 2 different UHF rxers (backup and primary command rxers) as well as the regular comms channels.. but with someone putting out that much power, it'd be pretty easy to find without the use of the satty anyway.

Just my 2 cents.

Blackout? HOW? It was on their TVs. (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | about 12 years ago | (#3813819)

You can't have a blackout if they're broadcasting the stuff right on the TVs of everyones homes... Talk about being a hypocrit.

Who says the Falun Gong did it? (4, Interesting)

Cutriss (262920) | about 12 years ago | (#3813824)

The only thing pointing to the idea that the Falun Gong conducted this stunt is the fact that the Chinese government tried to hide it.

Otherwise, it seems totally out of character for what is largely a peaceful group, and also one that doesn't have much in the way of financial resources. In a country where several years' worth of paychecks *may* be enough to buy you a car, it's not something you'd easily risk by pulling a stunt like this.

I'm sorry, but my BS-o-meter is registering pretty high on this one. It sounds suspiciously to me like a way for the Chinese government to legitimize their qualms with the group.

Forget something? (2)

Mulletproof (513805) | about 12 years ago | (#3813912)

Apparently your BS-o-meter forgot the minor detail of the Falun Gong hacking a TV station [] for a short period of time for a broadcast. As far as revolutions go, you may not consider the method peaceful, but it's a damn sight better than screaming "Falun Gong! Falun Gong!" in a marketplace befor blowing innocents up. Trying to win the hearts and minds of the populace without explosives... What a novel concept.

Re:Forget something? (2)

Cutriss (262920) | about 12 years ago | (#3813937)

I didn't know about that. Thanks.

And I wasn't trying to imply that this thing wasn't peaceful, so much as I've just never read any news about Falun Gong that didn't have to do with some new incident of persecution by the Chinese government.

Bah! (3, Funny)

Aaron_Pike (528044) | about 12 years ago | (#3813830)


I saw that broadcast. All it was was a couple of gay asian guys wearing way too much make up shouting "Hack the Planet!".

You must be shot. (2)

Mulletproof (513805) | about 12 years ago | (#3813844)

My god... that was a horrible movie. The stain on your karma for mentioning it will stay with through the afterlife. Death is too good for you now...

Well that's nothing compared to what I did (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813831)

Flight 93 was shot down.

I know because I was ordered to shoot down the plane. Due to the classified status of that day's events, I can not divulge my name or the method I used to bring down the target. After I touched down back at the base that day, I found that the passengers on flight 93 had successfully overpowered the hijackers moments before I killed them all. I have suffered immeasurable guilt since then, to the degree that the unit shrink has grounded me indefinitely.

You will probably never know the full story. I do not think I can bear another six years of service before retirement and may be medically discharged by then, in which case I have nothing to live for any more.

--anonymous patriot

You did the right thing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813880)

Who's to say that the terrorists could not have regained control of the aircraft? In times of national emergency, we must place faith in our actions and rely on the brave men and women we assign to be our protectors. Sometimes, being human, we make mistakes. Everyone does.

But ask yourself this... Would you have shot the plane down if there WASN'T a terrorist threat on board?

You, Sir, are a True American Hero. And this Thursday I shall raise a toast in your honor.


I fear public reactions . . . (1)

div_2n (525075) | about 12 years ago | (#3813837)

It seems to me that as time goes by and technology continues to be integrated deeper into every aspect of our lives that the population will be divided into 3 main categories:

1) Those who "get it" and understand technology on a deep level (i.e. slashdot readers et al)

2) Those who don't "get it" and just use it and hope it works

3) Those that attempt to control the two (i.e. governments and controlling corporations)

My fear is that group 3 will attempt to use the actions of group 1 to further restrict and control group 2. They can and likely will use incidents like this as ammunition to further their case. Think about it.

Stupid (1)

DarkDust (239124) | about 12 years ago | (#3813842)

Considering Falun Gong's trouble with the chinese government this is a very stupid move as it gives the government more arguments in attacking and arresting Falun Gong members.

Hijacking a satellite can easily be declared as a direct attack on the government, thus pouring oil into the flames... not a very clever move.

Extremely counter-productive for Fa Lun Gong (3, Insightful)

patiwat (126496) | about 12 years ago | (#3813857)

I fear that this incident will prove highly counter-productive to Fa Lun Gong.

For the Chinese man on the street, who might not sympathize with Fa Lun Gong (many that I know don't), an act like this marks them as trouble-makers who have clearly gone beyond passive resistance.

For the Chinese government, this incident allows them to go to the American government and claim that Fa Lun Gong is a bunch of religious cyber-terrorists. An excuse to crack down on illicit internet-cafes, rights of religious freedoms (they can claim that religion preaches terrorism), and hackers in general (ala US-styled counter-cyber-terrorism proposals).

For American policy makers, this seems similar to Al-Qaeda cyber-terrorism scenarios, where a telecom disruption might occur concurrently with a physical attack, thus disrupting the C4 capabilities of the emergency support teams.

Get real. This isn't like in "Hackers" or "Johny Mnemonic" where the good guy hackers hack TV to expose The Man.

Patiwat Panurach

Re:Extremely counter-productive for Fa Lun Gong (1)

Fyndlorn (88381) | about 12 years ago | (#3813954)

How can you say this is not passive resistance? Nobody was injured, they got thier message out and at worst some people who wanted to watch TV where inconvenienced.

If China does anything rash in responce now the people will know why and it wil because all the clearer what the priorities of that government are.

Not that big a problem (1)

Aliks (530618) | about 12 years ago | (#3813881)

There are lots of satellites up there, and lots of reports of unauthorized usage, but no-one seems too upset by it all.

Could it be that the value of the data to be hacked is not worth the effort, so the actual amount of hacking activity is low?

There was some TV news reporting recently that the US reconnaissance planes over Kosovo were uplinking their camera shots to a satellite that rebroadcast without scrambling.

The US military type that was interviewed said that they were aware, and that the data was unclassified so no need for encryption.

Those with the right dish on the roof can pick up quite a few unscrambled transmissions from news gathering teams uplinking to satellite. Again noone worries too much because the info is seldom much use.

Denial of service attacks like the one in China were quickly rectified, and I'm sure the Chinese government embarrassment will quickly pass.

If there was a security problem with satellites, military or otherwise, we would have seen many more high profile attacks before now.

What a waste of effort... (2, Funny)

Te1waz (453498) | about 12 years ago | (#3813891)

They could have hacked the satellite and broadcast some decent programs.

Anybody fancy making a similar effort as regards ITV? (preferably Saturday evening about 7 o'clock)

Falun Gong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3813906)

This does not sound like something that Falun Gong would do. From what I have read, they are a spiritual movement involving meditation (qigong). However, since freedom of speech is greatly restricted in China, I suppose it is possible.

Or perhaps the Chinese Gov't did it themselves...but if that were the case then they probably would not have barred it from the news, and instead would have condemned Falun Gong and promoted a "strike-hard campaign" against them.

I agree with the others, I wish they had picked something better than "Falun Gong is Good!"...that sounds very childish and would not be in their interests (?)

your time has come (1)

(startx) (37027) | about 12 years ago | (#3813935)

all your satalite are belong to us!

*go ahead, mod me down, but you know it had to be said! and if I didn't do it, then maybe you would have. Think about that one....

History repeats itself. (2)

Mulletproof (513805) | about 12 years ago | (#3813939)

Watch the news [] lately?
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