The United States warns of threats to satellite networks
The United States warns of threats to satellite networks

The United States has warned of potential threats to its satellite network amid concerns that recent attacks on European satellite networks will soon spread to the United States.

The joint CSIIA and FBI consultation urges satellite network providers and critical infrastructure organizations that rely on satellite networks to bolster their cyber defenses as the potential for cyberattacks increases and warns that a successful hack could pose an environmental risk to them.

Although the US notice does not mention any specific sectors, the use of satellite communications is widespread in the United States.

It is estimated that nearly 8 million Americans rely on satellite communications networks to access the Internet.

Power grids are commonly used in industries such as aviation, government, media, and the military, as well as in gas facilities and electric charging stations in remote locations.

The military should be especially concerned, because the recent cyberattack on Viasat, which cut tens of thousands of customers in Europe in February, shows the damage it can do.

This type of satellite station is used by the Ukrainian army. A representative of the Ukrainian army admitted that it was a great loss for them in terms of communications. It is currently one of the sectors most affected.

For example, a successful attack could become a security threat to the shipping industry. Ships use satellite communications for safe operation.

The United States issues a warning after the Visat cyber attack

A few days ago, reports emerged that Western intelligence agencies had launched an investigation into a cyber attack that hit Viasat's KA-SAT network last month, disrupting communications across Europe as the Russian incursion began.

The outage affected satellite internet service for tens of thousands of customers in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe and shut down nearly 5,800 wind turbines in Germany.

Initially, cyberattacks were thought to be caused by Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. But this was called into question.

Viasat has not yet announced any technical details. However, he confirmed that the attackers exploited a flawed setting in managing the satellite network to remotely access the modem. This indicates that attackers are very likely to spread malicious firmware updates between endpoints.

An attacker could hack the ground station to issue commands by abusing a legitimate control protocol that forwards malicious firmware updates to the ground station.

The cyber attack is believed to have been an attempt to disrupt communications through Ukraine at the start of the Russian invasion. In fact, Viasat provides satellite communication services to the Ukrainian army.

A Viasat spokesperson said: “We currently believe this was a deliberate, isolated and external cyber incident. The company's efforts have stabilized the KA-SAT network.

Viasat is working with distributors to restore service to European users affected by this incident. "We are focusing on critical infrastructure and humanitarian aid," he added. We continue to make significant progress, with several resolutions completed and others in the pipeline.

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