Experts Warn Cyber Attacks On Equipment in Space Could Spark Global Catastrophe

The view of a storm from the International Space Station, which is responsible for the lives of a number of people and could be vulnerable to cyber security attacks
The view of a storm from the International Space Station, which is responsible for the lives of a number of people and could be vulnerable to cyber security attacks

The world is dangerously unprepared for a global disaster sparked by cyber attacks on space infrastructure, experts have warned.

Authorities are not doing nearly enough to stop space assets being hacked and used maliciously, according to a warning from security experts. The consequences of such a hack could be disastrous – anything from damage to trade and financial services to terrorists taking over strategic weapons.

Much of the world’s infrastructure is dependent on space machinery – almost every important business or technology on the ground is powered by space assets. And while governments have done a great deal in looking to secure those technologies on Earth, they could easily be threatened from space.

Those weaknesses could be exploited by people and groups including states, criminal syndicates, terrorists and hackers to create a potential global catastrophe on Earth, according to a new report from Chatham House.

The think tank suggested that authorities should commit to a “radical review” of cyber security in space. There’s currently no global organisation looking at the issue and the situation may advance so quickly that governments soon won’t be able to do anything about it, argued Dr Patricia Lewis, director of the international security department at Chatham House, and her co-author David Livingstone, an associate fellow at the institute.

That is because space is quickly becoming somewhere that isn’t dominated just by a few privileged countries. Instead, it is becoming a domain “ruled by market forces”, and this is likely to intensify in future.

As such, the authors fear that isolated governments could do little about any specific cyber threat, and that countries must work together to respond to them.

That shouldn’t be done by regulation, which can tend to be slow, the authors said. Instead the world should develop a flexible new cyber security regime that can allow space companies to work together across the world and stop attacks on infrastructure.

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SOURCE: Andrew Griffin 
The Independent