Russia's military spy service, the GRU, is said to be behind the hacking of Viasat's European satellite network, KA-SAT.
US intelligence analysts claim that Russian military spies carried out a successful attack against a satellite broadband service run by an American company on the day Russia attacked Ukraine, the Washington Post writes.
While the US government hasn't announced who's the culprit behind the attack, US officials' familiars with the matter say that the GRU was behind the attack.
Connection outages were observed on the day Russia invaded Ukraine, February 24. Viasat's officials claim that the cyberattack was carried out by compromising and exploiting systems that manage customer terminals.
The incident affected tens of thousands of terminals across Europe, demonstrating the dangers of relying for communications on commercial satellites.
While the attack affected satellite broadband services, it doesn't mean that orbiting satellites were affected. The recent attack resembles a ground segment attack, where threat actors target facilities associated with satellite data reception.
Last week, The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) and the FBI issued a statement urging local and international satellite communication (SATCOM) providers to strengthen their cybersecurity practices.
"Given the current geopolitical situation, CISA's Shields Up initiative requests that all organizations significantly lower their threshold for reporting and sharing indications of malicious cyber activity," the statement said.
The space front
Space assets came into light several times after the Kremlin invaded Ukraine. Hacker group NB65 said they managed to impact the daily activities of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.
The head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, dismissed such claims as false later adding that hacking a satellite would constitute a 'reason for war.'
At the beginning of the month, hackers also urged Ukraine's 'IT army' to target Russia's satellite-based navigation system, GLONASS.
Most modern satellites are little more than specialized computers in space. What that means is that the devices are not immune to hacking.
However, threat actors don't need to hack into satellites to disrupt the infrastructure based on artificial moons. Malicious hackers could carry out an attack by breaching mission control or intercepting radio or optical communications.
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