McAfee Gives a Warning of Cyberattacks in Space

There are new threats for a cyberattack on small satellites, especially due to the proliferation of commercial space industry efforts, according to the publication of a technical research paper made on 1st October, by McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team together with Cork institute of technology, Blackrock Castle Observatory and the National Space Center in Cork, Ireland. According to the publication, there have been new threats towards Space 4.0, the newest commercially motivated reiteration of the space sector, especially the small satellites.

The publication gave a warning that while there may be little evidence of the incidents, the attacks’ magnitude has not yet been comprehended, especially because most of the running operations are government agencies sponsored. With the increased number of small satellites, there is a likelihood that there will be increased openly known attacks. The circumstance will aggravate the surge in the attacks that there have been created for the room for various alternative attack methods with the technology.

According to the team, there is a need for the sector players to look into Space 4.0, considering a cybersecurity approach. This was because with the connections and data rising with each new day, cybercriminals will target the information and systems as opposed to the RF transmission layer.

The team compared Space 4.0 industry with the Internet of Things (IoT) industry in the publication. Access to new technologies and hardware at cheaper costs saw the increase in gadgets originating from markets that had poor cybersecurity. Due to the proliferation, IoT gadgets have been turned into the main target for attacks by hackers. The hackers have taken advantage of the poor security and leverage for various mischievous purposes, especially in exploiting them to come up with massive botnets that allow for access points to corporate networks.

As per the Advanced Threat Research team, if there will be no mitigation steps taken by the industry to control this threat early enough, the small satellites that are the major components of Space 4.0 will be just like IoT, exposed to hackers’ attacks. The team called for a strong collaboration between cyber hazard researchers, the government, commercial, and academia, especially in modeling threats, directive, hardware, and software design.

The team indicated the availability of numerous building block primitives that could be trusted. It would help secure Space 4.0 if only the players leveraged at the model phase of innovation and not after being launched into space.