Cyber Security

Hackers to target the final frontier in 2022

31st December 2021
Kiera Sowery

With the renewed acceleration of the ‘Space Race’ from both private companies and nation states, researchers at the WatchGuard Threat Lab are expecting to see space-hacking hit the headlines in 2022.

“There are already more than 4,000 operating satellites in space, which combined with the growing number of commercial space flights and government-funded missions to explore other planets, space has become a giant attack surface for cyber criminals and state-sponsored hackers,” said Marc Laliberte, Technical Security Operations Manager at WatchGuard Technologies.

“Cyberattacks aimed at space systems could disrupt internet access and other critical national infrastructure, interfere with Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) systems, and even disable or turn satellites into weapons.”

Satellite hacking has already gained investigative attention from the cybersecurity community among researchers and at conferences such as DEF CON. While satellites might seem out of reach from most threats, researchers have found they can communicate with them using low-cost and easily accessible equipment. Furthermore, older satellites may not have the protection of modern security controls, relying on distance and obscurity for defence.

“With the increasing value of orbital systems to nation states, economies and society, we suspect governments have quietly started their cyber defence campaigns in space already,” said Laliberte.

You can find the rest of WatchGuard’s cybersecurity predictions for 2022 here.

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