What do you do if you can't get a home phone with decent long distance rates? Hijack a US military satellite, of course.
Wired.com has a cool story on the hacking of a US Navy comms satellite, FTLSAT-8, by Brazilians who have been looking for cheaper ways of communicating.
CAMPINAS, Brazil — On the night of March 8, cruising 22,000 miles above
the Earth, U.S. Navy communications satellite FLTSAT-8 suddenly erupted
with illicit activity. Jubilant voices and anthems crowded the channel
on a junkyard's worth of homemade gear from across vast and silent
stretches of the Amazon: Ronaldo, a Brazilian soccer idol, had just
scored his first goal with the Corinthians.
Much of this country's geography is remote, and beyond the reach of
cellphone coverage, making American satellites an ideal, if illegal,
communications option. The problem goes back more than a decade, to the
mid-1990s, when Brazilian radio technicians discovered they could jump
on the UHF frequencies dedicated to satellites in the Navy's Fleet
Satellite Communication system, or FLTSATCOM. They've been at it ever
Wired's story on this is fascinating -- check it out.