The lengthy, solder-heavy technique to get root entry to a Starlink terminal

Nobody said getting root access to space was going to be easy.

Enlarge / No person stated getting root entry to area was going to be simple. (credit score: KU Leuven)

Getting root entry inside one in all Starlink’s dishes requires a number of issues which can be onerous to return by: a deep understanding of board circuitry, eMMC dumping {hardware} and expertise, bootloader software program understanding, and a {custom} PCB board. However researchers have confirmed it may be finished.

Of their speak “Glitched on Earth by People: A Black-Field Safety Analysis of the SpaceX Starlink Consumer Terminal,” researchers at KU Leuven in Belgium detailed at Black Hat 2022 earlier this 12 months how they had been capable of execute arbitrary code on a Starlink Consumer Terminal (i.e., a dish board) utilizing a custom-built modchip via a voltage fault injection. The speak came about in August, however the researchers’ slides and repository have just lately made the rounds.

There is no rapid risk, and the vulnerability is each disclosed and restricted. Whereas bypassing signature verification allowed the researchers to “additional discover the Starlink Consumer Terminal and networking aspect of the system,” slides from the Black Hat speak notice that Starlink is “a well-designed product (from a safety standpoint).” Getting a root shell was difficult, and doing so did not open up apparent lateral motion or escalation. However updating firmware and repurposing Starlink dishes for different functions? Maybe.

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