When the Air Force showed up at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas last month, it didn’t come empty-handed. It brought along an F-15 fighter-jet data system—one that security researchers thoroughly dismantled, finding serious vulnerabilities along the way. The USAF was so pleased with the result that it has decided to up the ante. Next year, it’s bringing a satellite.
That’s a promise from Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics. While sending elite hackers after an orbiting satellite—and its ground station—might sound ambitious, it’s in keeping with Roper’s commitment to fundamentally changing how his branch of the military attacks its cybersecurity challenges.