Is it possible to hack NASA satellites?

Cyber ​​conflict specialist warns of easily hackable satellites

Space X, the space company of billionaire Elon Musk, plans to provide the entire globe with Internet access. To date, 302 satellites have been sent into space for the ambitious project; at least 12,000 to 42,000 are expected to be. Other corporations such as Facebook and Google also want to launch thousands of satellites into space in the near future in order to improve navigation systems, for example. The political scientist William Akoto, who specializes in the analysis of cyber conflicts, has now warned of possible hack attacks, as "Heise" reported.

"Catastrophic Consequences"

For "Scientific American" and "The Conversation", the political scientist wrote about the allegedly virtually non-existent IT security standards of some satellites and their potential danger: "If hackers were to gain control of these satellites, the consequences would be grave." In this way it would be possible to switch off the satellites, so that their services would no longer be available. It also warns of satellites that have thrusters. Loss of control of these satellites could have "catastrophic consequences": Hackers could change orbits and cause them to collide with other satellites or even the ISS.

Cube-Sats: cheaper satellites

Akoto goes into the so-called Cube-Sats in the article in more detail. For corporations, only the comparatively cheap terrestrial satellites would often come into question, as the planned fleets would otherwise not be affordable. According to the expert, the Cube-Sats have hardware and software "off the shelf" and are therefore easy prey for hackers.

No encrypted data

IT security of the physically difficult to reach satellites has only recently been an issue, as "Extremetech" reported. The builders of some of the satellites in orbit did not worry that someone on earth would interfere with or hack the signals. They have little storage capacity and their data is not encrypted. (emko, February 25, 2020)