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Satellite Cybersecurity Training Workshops by Tonex

Cybersecurity threats to satellite communications are a relatively new phenomenon.

But concern over this type of cybercriminal activity is considerable especially considering nearly 5,000 satellites are currently active – a number that could quintuple over the next decade.

Exploited vulnerabilities are mission critical and include launch systems, communications, telemetry, tracking and command and mission completion.

Much of the trepidation from Cybersecurity professionals has to do with supply chain vulnerabilities. Because satellites and systems are made from thousands of parts manufactured in places both inside and outside the U.S., vulnerabilities can be built in by threat actors, which can cause greater levels of access to the satellite system as a whole.

Many believe the two main threats are to ground station infrastructure and to the open source software and COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) hardware, installed onboard satellites. By far the easiest of these to attack is the ground-based infrastructure, internet-connected and operated by humans who are much easier to “hack” than computers, via social engineering and phishing attacks.

Currently there are no cybersecurity standards for satellites and no governing body to regulate and ensure their cybersecurity. If hackers were to take control of satellites, the consequences could be dire. Hackers could simply shut satellites down, denying access to their services. Or hackers could also jam or spoof the signals from satellites, creating havoc for critical infrastructure. This includes electric grids, water networks and transportation systems.


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Certified Space Security Specialist Professional (CSSSP)5 days
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Newer satellites have thrusters that allow them to speed up, slow down and change direction in space. If hackers took control of these steerable satellites, they could essentially turn them into weapons altering the satellites’ orbits and crashing them into other satellites or even the International Space Station.

Along with the introduction of standards to help improve cybersecurity, the hope is that the kind of modulation and encryption technologies available today will help mitigate satellite vulnerabilities significantly.

Various reports also recommend ensuring that operating systems and other software are up-to-date and patched against vulnerabilities and exploits that could be used to interfere with systems, as well as full examinations of security at every stage of the supply chain.

Cybersecurity experts also suggest that that people working with satellites receive training in cybersecurity and that it would be prudent to assume that an adversary is already active in these networks and focus on resilience measures such as the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and respond to threats.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Satellite Cybersecurity Training. For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

Satellite Cybersecurity Training Workshops

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