Space is the last frontier for hackers
Nowadays, many tech companies are interested in space, from expensive tourist flights to satellites that distribute the Internet. In this regard, many information security experts express concern that these companies may become the target of hackers.
With an increase in commercial rocket launches and a recent spike in ransomware incidents, cyberattacks on space systems can disrupt internet access, cause global positioning system (GPS) malfunctions, and even turn satellites into weapons.
“We should worry about this if we are afraid that someone will hack into our navigation systems. We have to worry about this if we want our electricity grid to stay on. These space systems power all the rest of the critical infrastructure we have, but we don’t even realize it, ”Johns Hopkins University civil engineering professor told Vox Recode.
According to Maher Yamout, a senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, intrusions and physical attacks on satellites, their communications systems and the ground stations that control them have increased in recent years, “probably due to the development of the technologies used and the space race “.
Back in April this year, the head of the US Department of Defense’s Space Development Agency warned that cyberattacks on satellites pose an even greater threat than missiles.
Space organizations responsible for monitoring military satellites and GPS are also increasing their investments in cybersecurity. The military is currently preparing for the possibility of new cyberattacks in space, while the US federal government is urging a growing number of commercial space companies to strengthen their cybersecurity, especially with the planned launch of more satellites.
SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb and other tech companies have already launched hundreds of satellites to sell internet access around the world and are planning to send thousands more into orbit. These satellites will join thousands of satellites for telephones, weather reports, agricultural research, and more.
According to Travis Langster, vice president of space startup Comspoc, most people associate satellites with navigation apps, but they also transmit important timing data used for power grid operations and banking transactions.
Humanity’s growing reliance on satellites makes the threat of hacking especially alarming. As Iain Boyd, director of the Center for National Security Initiatives at the University of Colorado, noted, hackers can try to gain access to a satellite by targeting companies’ ground systems, and once inside, manipulate communications or controls, download unwanted software, or even command the satellite to change course.
Boyd also added that hackers may even try to flood the satellite with false signals or spoof satellite communications (a process called spoofing) in order to confuse vehicles on Earth.
“You can’t just go into a server room and apply a patch to whatever is in orbit,” said Matthew Scholl, head of computer security at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Information Technology Lab.
Civil engineering is a construction industry engaged in the construction of buildings and structures for civil purposes.
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