With all the measures IT professionals and security experts are taking to fight cyber attacks, they are unprepared for the type that could lead to a widespread catastrophe, an international think tank said in a recent report.
Satellites are vulnerable to cyber attacks, said Chatham House, which could lead to extensive outages for the businesses, trade, and government and financial institutions that are dependent upon them to operate. And such an attack could make many of them vulnerable to widespread criminal acts.
It’s time for a radical view of cyber security, according to Dr. Patricia Lewis, a director of Chatham House. “The last thing you want is military or cyber attacks on satellites, even if you just switch them off they are essentially space debris which can cause more problems,” she said in an interview with Wired.
Lewis also pointed out that the critical infrastructure in space is operating on old technology, without being modernized to protect against cyber attacks. “The big question there is how much can they be retrofitted and what happens going forward.”
The report, which is called “Space, the Final Frontier for Cyber security,” outlines the serious risks that could result for critical infrastructure on the ground as a result of attacks against satellites.
“Possible cyber threats against space-based systems include state-to-state and military actions; well-resourced organized criminal elements seeking financial gain; terrorist groups wishing to promote their causes, even up to the catastrophic level of cascading satellite collisions; and individual hackers who want to fanfare their skills,” the report noted.
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