News April 21, 2022

A space war will be fought in front of a computer screen

An excerpt from the CyberNews article, ‘A space war will be fought in front of a computer screen’

While a cyberattack on a ground-based control system might be the obvious choice from an attacker’s point of view, that doesn’t mean satellites are immune to hackers.

Some of the most critical orbital infrastructure, like the Global Position System (GPS), which we often take for granted, operate using a small number of satellites that are difficult to replace.

15 out of 29 operational GPS satellites were launched before 2012, with the oldest satellite on duty whizzing around our planet since 1997.

Chris Rouland, CEO of Phosphorus Cybersecurity and IBM’s former CTO, thinks the age is a problem since satellites are nothing but flying devices with small, low-power computers.

“Crucially, they [satellites] were not engineered in a hostile environment like the internet or another evolution technology that’s taken place over the last decade,” Rouland told Cybernews.

For example, the price of software-defined radio (SDR) systems dropped dramatically over the last decade, allowing enthusiasts to use computers instead of expensive hardware to communicate via radio waves, the main communications channels of older satellites.

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