GRC Viewpoint

Cyber Security and Space Technology: A Major Trend for 2022?

As the world turns increasingly connected, it is also becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Despite the awareness or ongoing research in countering cyber threats, it is a fact that the world has been unable to prevent these attacks from taking place frequently.

Moreover, in 2021, enterprises across the globe encountered an altogether new set of cyberattacks in the wake of covid-19 imposed restrictions. As covid-19 continues to restrict the functions of the world, these cyber security concerns may extend into 2022 as well. Besides, the current year may witness IT experts devoting considerable time towards tackling cybersecurity concerns with respect to space technologies.

Why Did Space Assume Significance in Cyber Security 2022?

Satellite-based internet access is predicted to be a significant trend for 2022. As a result, experts can’t ignore the possibility of POC (Proof-of-concept) threats impacting satellite networks. Additionally, the new LEO satellite systems (low earth orbit) have become feasible for both mainstream business consumers and remote users. LEO satellites provide faster access and are growing less expensive. However, with increased connectivity, more are the possibilities of cyber-attacks on space technologies.

Cybersecurity with respect to outer space will surely be a prime concern and area of interest for both the public and private sectors. NASA is no longer the key player in the outer space, as compared to many years ago. Cyber experts now have to go beyond safeguarding only NASA in outer space into many more options. The other players could be governing bodies, private entities, and even equipment manufacturers.

As the reliance on satellite-empowered connectivity grows, organizations relying on the connectivity are going to be easy targets for cybercriminals from anywhere.

The activities that are more prone to cyber threats could be online gaming, delivery of critical services, field offices, airlines, and so on.

The criticality, distance, and scale of the types of equipment and systems that become part of the cyber security and space technology concept increase the complexity of the scenario. As an easy example, a cyberattack on ground station systems may deliver false information to satellites placed in the orbit. The consequence of such an attack may easily extend beyond predictable behaviour. In fact, it may even lead to an inter-space collision. The direct impact of such a collision would be illicit access to effective communication systems.

The Hurdles Are Many: 

It is undoubtedly excellent that awareness of cyber security with respect to space systems has become a priority as far as the contemporary cybersecurity landscape is concerned. However, the task of safeguarding space technologies is not going to be easy for cyber experts. Hurdles are many. The most consequential among them would easily be the significant absence of international cybersecurity cooperation.

Innovative attack types continue to emerge on a constant basis. Every satellite and its base stations can easily be a potential network entry point. This indicates that cyber attackers can easily find millions of terminals that can function as attack launch points.

The need to think beyond conventional strategies is more apparent than ever. Experts vouch for the urgency for highly comprehensive and integrated security strategies.

A centralized authority needs to be present to monitor the consistent implementation of policies and timely delivery of updates and configurations.

International governing bodies and other global bodies involved in the cybersecurity space should constantly direct their efforts towards finalizing and implementing innovative and globally uniform cyber security standards and the worldwide space supply network. Besides, it is exceptionally urgent to alter existing cyber security technology standards and approaches.

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