The deputy head of the space nuclear and Cyber operations of the US Space Forces, Lieutenant General Chance Saltzman, noted the importance of protecting ground-based satellite communication systems and user network equipment that provide many entry points for cyber attacks.
According to Soltzman at a meeting with the Defense Writers Group journalists’ Association, he was informed about Russian cyber attacks on users of Ukrainian satellite Internet services. It is a mistake to believe that the enemy is shooting down satellites to disable satellite communications, he noted. In fact, ground networks are becoming targets for cyber attacks.
Last week, the US State Department filed official charges against Russia for cyber attacks on the Viasat KA-SAT satellite Internet network. As a result of the cyberattack, user terminals in Ukraine and Europe that provide access to the Internet were disabled. As stated in Viasat, the satellites themselves were not attacked.
Earlier this month, Elon Musk also announced on Twitter that Russian hackers tried to bring down the SpaceX Starlink service in Ukraine.
If the ground infrastructure that supports the operation of satellites is the main target for hackers, it is very important to have “reliable networks protected by cybersecurity specialists, otherwise you will not have to expect effective missions,” Soltzman believes.
The head of the Space Operations Command of the US Space Forces, Lieutenant General Stephen Whiting, told SpaceNews last month that the most successful attacks on satellite systems to date do not occur in space, but on earth. In this regard, the Space Operations Command conducts advanced training of information security specialists who previously dealt only with the security of desktop systems. Now they are being trained to ensure the protection of military satellite networks.