Hacking Satellites … Look Up to the Sky

Hacking Satellites … Look Up to the Sky: Satellites have assumed a crucial role in our contemporary society; they are used in both private and public sectors for numerous purposes, from communication to research. Unfortunately, with the diffusion of this complex system, the interest of governments and hackers also increased; their security is today a pillar of the cyber security strategy of the most advanced government.

The wave of cyber threats has evolved rapidly in the last years in the pace of technological evolution. Attackers are posing a growing challenge to satellite fleet operators and raising questions on the level of security to ensure also for commercial satellites, security experts are convinced that they need to be “hardened” exactly like the secure military satellites. Principal cyber powers such as the US and UK fear a possible offensive from foreign hostile governments, non-state actors and even single hackers, but it is it is undeniable that the main concerns are related to the aggressive behavior of China, especially in this area. Chinese hackers, probably state-sponsored entities, have already gained access to US satellite; these incidents demonstrated the urgent need to secure both military and commercial satellites from external attacks and intrusions.

The article will show various techniques of attack against satellites and potential risks related to sabotage operations and to intrusion for cyber espionage. It tries to explain the meaning of satellite hacking and to provide information about the principal vulnerabilities of this category of systems.