With all of the recent focus on cyber security on the enterprise level, it is not unlikely internet criminals will start taking their attacks to the next level. Satellites present a high=profile target for hackers and spreaders of malware, mainly because a satellite is usually managed remotely.
Cyber Security On Satellites Matters
Although it is very unlikely crypto-ransomware will make an appearance in space anytime soon, it is of the utmost importance to step up cyber security as far as satellites are concerned. Nearly every country in the world relies on these machines for communication, navigations, and even the Internet.
However, with all satellites being managed remotely, there is a likely chance internet criminals will start to target these installations at some point. Technology within these machines falls behind over time, leaving wide open security vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited. Otherwise, the ramifications would be quite severe.
Based on a recent Wired article, there seem to be two plausible scenarios when an internet criminal attacks a satellite. Either they will flood the signal to disrupt mobile phone networks – or spoof a current signal with a fake one – or they will take physical control of the satellite. Neither of these outcomes is something to look forward to, to say the least.
Power grids and financial services could be taken down with enough effort, and satellites could be moved out of their orbit altogether. The worst case scenario would be to have satellites collide in space, causing serious havoc. This would create military advantages for countries willing to explore this route, which is why it is so important to prevent these attacks from succeeding.
But these security concerns do not affect just the satellites in space themselves, as ground control centers need to step up their cybersecurity as well. Encryption should be the standard rather than an exception by now, yet this is far from the case. Common international standards need to be established sooner rather than later, as these threats are very real.
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