Cyber Threat to Satellites is Fathomless!


Cyber Threat to Satellites is Fathomless says Lisa Donnan, Managing director of Option3 Ventures- a venture capital company focused on Information Security and Analytics. The reason, traffic running on satellite networks- such as defense communication, financial info and television broadcasts are all very attractive and lucrative to hackers.

Greg Touhill, President of Cyxtera Technologies- a data center company supports the perspective of Lisa and adds that satellite systems of today are being challenged by a myriad of cyber threats.
This includes risks from being attacked by DDoS related attacks which cannot only interrupt the operations of satellites but can even transform into a death star- where an attack is implanted in the system only to be exploited later.

Greg feels that companies offering satellites to commercial and government projects should have security teams thinking like hackers. He feels that the said kind of thinking will help to buy down risks and adjust the training, certification, and auditing of personnel processes and technologies as per the present landscape of cyberspace.

In 2016, SANS Institute predicted that the world is ill-prepared for a global disaster sparked by cyber attacks on space infrastructure. As authorities are doing very little or nothing to stop space assets from being hacked or used on a malicious note.

Remember, in 1999, a group of hackers from South of England have turned the above said predicted theory into a reality by hacking and seizing control of a British Military Communications Satellite using a home computer, triggering a “Frenetic” Security alert.

For one month, hackers succeeded in exploiting the Ministry of Defense’s Skynet Satellites and changed the characteristics of channels used to convey military communications, satellite television, and telephone calls. Initially, for many months, the UK government denied this incident happening on an official note.

But when US news resource Telegraph brought this issue again into the limelight in 2000, the Britain government logically admitted to the incident.

Imagine, if terrorists or some state-funded actors hack a satellite serving a nation. It could not only lead to a blackout of communications and electricity but can also spell a doom on the entire mankind, if in case, nuclear weapons meant for national security fall into the wrong hands.

Well, the bottom line of this entire article is to enlighten the satellite companies about the prowling cyber threats over the industry. It’s because space is becoming a province which isn’t just dominated by few privileged countries but is slowly transforming into a domain ruled by market forces which is likely going to intensify in future.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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