Satellites Can Be Turned Into Weapons by Hackers, Scholar Warns

While some satellites can be simply shut down by the hackers or hijacked to jam the signals they send, the ones equipped with thrusters could potentially be launched to crash into other satellites or even into the ISS, the researcher warns.

As private companies continue to deploy more and more space satellites into Earth’s orbit, it appears that this tendency may present a significant risk to our planet’s population if proper security measures are not implemented.

As William Akoto, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Denver, explained in his article published on Live Science, the “lack of cybersecurity standards and regulations for commercial satellites”, along with the “complex supply chains and layers of stakeholders” involved, leaves satellites “highly vulnerable” to cyberattacks.

Furthermore, since some satellites have thrusters, hackers could potentially try to alter their orbits and crash them into other satellites or even into the International Space Station, he adds.

Also, since many of the commercial satellites, such as CubeSats, use “off-the-shelf technology”, it allegedly presents hackers with opportunities to install back doors into their software, with further vulnerabilities stemming from the fact that launching satellites into space usually involves multiple companies and that satellites day-to-day management is often outsourced.

And whatever steps government agencies and the private sector might take to deal with this potential threat, Akoto argues that “it is imperative to act now”.


Satellites Can Be Turned Into Weapons by Hackers, Scholar Warns

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