The US government generally doesn't interact much with hackers. However, if recent history is to be taken into account, it needs to cosy up with them to create better protections for national databases.

The US Department of Defence has made an announcement that is expected to change that – it will host a hackathon where hackers will try to hack a military satellite orbiting the earth.

The Wired magazine reported on Tuesday that Will Roper, Assistant Secretary, US Air Force has promised White Hat hackers a chance to take over the control of the satellite from the ground station by any means usable. They have a simple goal – accessing the website and turning the cameras' positioning from the moon to the earth.

Since this is a sensitive website, it is not an open-for-all invitation. Instead, only properly vetted "researchers" will be provided access after a public call for such hackers. Only selected hackers will get access to the satellite, and group which wins will showcase its skills at Defcon 2020, which it will be flown to.

The US Air Force is holding the third such program and this one will also allow hackers to attack the ground station as well.

"We will have opportunities for contestants to do both. But what they're going to do is try to take over the satellite by any means they find," Roper told Wired.

Given the US experience over hacking and data theft, engaging hackers seem the ideal way to strengthen the defenses of orbiting satellites which hold the key to launching high-end weapons such as missiles. If a satellite is rendered kaput or is taken, it would curtail the US capability to defend an attack.

The US Air Force, as per Roper is working on strengthening its entire cybersecurity chain so that its defenses are not susceptible to attacks from other nations.

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