Cyber Security Concerns: Space and Drones

David Livingstone, an Associate Fellow focused on International Security for Chatham House, recently published an illuminating article entitled The Intersection of Space and Cyber Security is a Growing Concern. The article, which begins by recounting the recent attack sustained by the US satellite weather network, delves into the largely untouched area of cyber security and space. Livingstone makes a point about a lack of “focus on increasing the space domain’s resilience to cyber attack,” especially salient given recent discussions regarding cyber security’s threat on national infrastructure, as well as Livingstone’s own point about how “much of the world’s critical national infrastructure is now heavily reliant on space technology.” Thus, the importance of improving cyber security in space cannot be understated, especially given the recent entry of commercial interests into the field. Livingstone concludes, “Chatham House’s continuing study of space and cyber security indicates that an inclusive and cultural approach to the space-cyber phenomenon is absent on both national and international stages. It is becoming increasingly apparent that there are critical weaknesses not simply in the identification of deficiencies in particular space systems, but also in the way that the conjunction of space is being organized.” While such a reality is daunting, it also signals an opportunity for companies to capitalize on this open area within the cyber security industry, thus paving the way for innovation and increased safety.

On another note, hacker Samy Kamkar, previously known for his infamous Myspace hack in 2005 that spawned the Samy XSS worm, is back in the news after publishing a YouTube video in which he revealed the success of his “zombie drone software.” Dubbed Skyjack, Samy engineered a drone that can “autonomously seek out, hack and wirelessly take over other drones within wifi distance, creating an army of zombie drones.” Given the centrality of drones within the U.S. armed forces, as well as their recent entry into the commercial field as highlighted by Amazon, the importance of solidifying their security is yet another pressing issue facing the cyber security industry and the country as a whole.

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