Originally posted by IMMORTAL
I didn't think that this would actually be possible for the average person. It seems that anyone with the interest in satellite communications could
intercept transmissions. This particular article shows how one person could intercept spy pictures from spy planes.
There are of course a limited number of encrypted satellite transponders available even for the deep pockets of the US DoD/NRO.
What this means is that data such as aerial surveillance from UCAV's, Orion's, etc, (IF
the data low priority) could very well get booted to
a lower security sat if a higher classified surveillance is ongoing.
The sats that low priority surveillance feed through are obscure and chances are you'd have to hunt for them, but they are certainly accessible for
the hobbyist with a dish and a lot of time.
That said, let's drill down on this so you don't get the wrong ideas...
There is certainly a hierarchy with classified surveillance data. For example if you find one of these sats, you might see some passing shots of
railroads in Bosnia or that sort of thing on an unencrypted sat link, BUT you will definitely NOT see live video images of North Korean Leader Kim
Jong Il reading his morning newspaper as he sips on his green tea.
The encryption used on DoD/NRO spy satellites and surveillance relay stations is the best in the world, it is nothing like cracking into a scrambled
HBO satellite signal.
This DoD encryption goes well beyond 1,028 bit and has taken the NSA over 9 months to crack using an array of supercomputers.
Considering that similar encryption algorithms like that are probably cycled through on a constant minute by minute basis, provided one has access to
supercomputers they may be able many months from now to decrypt as much as 60 seconds of data before they have to wait another number of months to
decrypt the next 60 seconds of data....
AND that's if they can find the encrypted sat signal coming from the spy platform...
Which most likely does not broadcast on standard downlink frequencies nullifying the ability to access the signal on standard hobbyist equipment.
In recent years there has been an incident where "hackers" actually took control of a British military telecom satellite.
They held control of the sat's navigation (blackmail) but were not able to gather transmission data.
It all comes down to this; if the DoD does not want you or potential adversaries to see what they are looking at, you will not see it.