Could Hacking of Satellites Bring World Closer to A Star-Wars Type Nightmare? It may sound a bit filmy and unreal but it is definitely possible.
Until now we had believed that star wars could not happen in real life.. it was something that only occurred in galaxies far far away but not in our world. But in a startling new report released by a London-based research entity Chatham House, it has been revealed that it could be possible in the near future.
According to Chatham House’s report [PDF], catastrophic attacks might occur if individual hackers, rogue states, threat actors, and even terrorists try to exploit satellites. In order to avoid this, a radical review of the state of cyber-security in space needs to be conducted. The reason is that currently there are various ambiguities surrounding the vulnerabilities of satellites as well as other assets in space. The report states:
“The vulnerability of satellites and other space assets to a cyberattack is often overlooked in wider discussions of cyber threats to critical national infrastructure. This is a significant failing, given society’s substantial and ever-increasing reliance on satellite technologies for navigation, communications, remote sensing, monitoring, and the myriad associated applications.”
It must be noted that the ground stations, satellites and space vehicles that have been sent to space are vulnerable to all kinds of cyber-attacks such as data corruption, cyber-jamming, data hijacking, cyber hijacking, cyber-spoofing, and data theft. That’s why the reports urge think tanks and security researchers to identify and address space-related gaps in cyber security as well as salient weaknesses on an urgent basis.
A Californian security firm CrowdStrike’s Intelligence vice president Adam Meyers informs that recently there has been an increase in activities against satellite systems especially of Israeli television stations in the Middle East. Meyers believes that such activities are actually “the hotbed of attacks.”
According to Meyers “They’re actually disrupting and hijacking these systems, not for intelligence interception per se. It’s increasingly more common to see these types of activities occurring. It’s certainly something that warrants additional scrutiny by security professionals.”
In the report, there are some suggestions for fixing the vulnerabilities of satellites. As per the report, there is dire need of a global “community of the willing,” sort of a team that comprises of governments and stakeholders within the space domain as well as insurance industries. The reason for creating such a group is to devise the best strategies for addressing the developing range of threats.
The report’s co-author David Livingstone stated that: “the space industry is renowned as a forward-thinking, market-leading community and it needs to address cyber-security urgently. What we need is an international community of the willing that would be tasked with developing industry-led standards in order to develop pace and agility in response to the growing cyber-threat in space.”