Telecoms & satcoms

Understanding satellite cyber security


Satellite cyber security encompasses the strategies, technologies, and practices to protect satellite communications systems from cyber threats and unauthorised access. These systems facilitate a wide range of global communications and are increasingly targeted by cyber criminals.

What role do satellites play?

Satellite communications (or satcoms) are vital in modern connectivity, enabling a broad spectrum of services essential for daily life and critical operations. These applications include:

  • GPS navigation, guiding millions of vehicles worldwide, and internet access in remote areas (helping to address the digital divide)
  • Satellite TV also provides diverse entertainment and news to a global audience, while weather forecasting is crucial for planning and disaster awareness
  • Supporting emergency services and maritime communications, ensuring safety and coordination in critical situations

This wide range of applications highlights the indispensable nature of satellite communications with how interconnected the world has become. Yet, the very characteristics that make satellite communications invaluable also make them attractive targets for cyber criminals.

Cyber threats within satellite communications

Cyber threats for satellite operations are evolving rapidly. As the reliance on these systems grows, so does the interest of people looking to exploit them. Cyber attacks on satellite communications can have far-reaching consequences, potentially impacting millions of lives by disrupting critical data flows, hijacking satellite controls, or even altering satellite courses with catastrophic outcomes.

The vulnerabilities of satellite communications are abundant. The design of satellites to receive information via microwave transmissions opens avenues for interception and manipulation through spoofing, hijacking, eavesdropping, and GPS jamming. The burgeoning satellite industry, highlighted by initiatives like the Inmarsat and Viasat merger to launch new satellites, expands the attack surface, inviting increased scrutiny from cyber criminals. This growing threat landscape necessitates a robust and proactive approach to satellite cyber security, highlighting the urgent need for enhanced protection against a backdrop of escalating cyber threats in space.

The need for satellite cyber security

As satellites operate in space, controlling them and ensuring their security poses unique challenges compared to terrestrial networks. Cyber security for satellites involves safeguarding the low-latency data transmitted between Earth stations and satellites, implementing cyber security for both the satellites and the ground stations that control them. This approach addresses threats such as signal spoofing, hijacking, eavesdropping, and GPS jamming, which can compromise the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of satellite communications.

How CyberHive can help

At CyberHive, we understand the strict need to provide simple yet secure satellite cyber security against the sophisticated cyber threats of today and tomorrow. Our approach to satellite cyber security is holistic, encompassing the latest technologies and strategies to protect satcoms from the ground up.

1. Advanced security measures

Our security solutions incorporate firewalls for both ground stations and user equipment, improved authentication procedures, and intrusion detection systems designed to filter out suspicious traffic. These measures are tailored to fortify satellite communications networks against unauthorised access and potential cyber attacks .

2. Industry compliance and futureproofing

Keeping pace with the latest satellite technology trends is vital for maintaining security and compliance with industry regulations. We help organisations stay ahead of the curve, ensuring their satellite communications are secure today and resilient against future threats. Our focus on futureproofing technology extends the lifespan of satellite operations, providing a strategic advantage in a rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape.

3. Collaborative security efforts

Effective satellite cyber security requires coordinated efforts across multiple stakeholders. CyberHive facilitates collaboration among satellite operators, security vendors, and governmental bodies, streamlining the implementation of comprehensive security measures.

4. Quantum-safe cryptography

Recognising the limitations of current encryption standards in the face of advancing quantum computing capabilities, we advocate for the early adoption of quantum-safe cryptography (also known as post-quantum cryptography). This cutting-edge technology ensures data’s secure transmission, guarding against present-day cyber threats and future quantum computing advancements.

5. Education and awareness

We believe in empowering our clients with knowledge. By providing insights into the latest cyber threats and security advancements, organisations can make informed decisions about protecting their satellite communications. One of the simplest ways to tackle human error is to utilise zero trust network access (ZTNA). [link to more information]

CyberHive are proudly part of the Viasat ELEVATE partner programme, delivering CyberHive Connect as an optimised cyber security solution for satellite usage.

Securing satcoms

The satellite communications sector faces unprecedented cyber threats that demand innovative and robust satellite cyber security solutions. Together, we can secure the future of satellite communications, ensuring that it remains a reliable and resilient for global connectivity.

If you’d like to enquire about how CyberHive Connect can help your organisation or business, contact us. Alternatively, try CyberHive Connect yourself for free.

Get in touch

If you have a question or would like some more information, contact us today.