Russia Satellite Communications Networks

In light of recent attacks on satellite networks in Europe sparked by the war in Ukraine, the U.S. government warns that such attacks might soon spread to the United States.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have recently disseminated a warning, expressing concern over the potential threats to the US and international satellite communication networks (SATCOM).

Network providers’ customer environments could be put at risk through successful intrusions into SATCOM networks. Additionally, the advisory didn’t outline specific industries that may be vulnerable, but the use of satellite communications is widespread across the country.

This CSA includes recommendations and mitigations to toughen SATCOM network cybersecurity that are summarized by CISA and FBI to protect the critical infrastructure organizations and their customers. 

GNSS Spoofing Areas

Here below we have mentioned all the key geographical areas where GNSS spoofing and/or jamming has amplified are:-

  • Kaliningrad region (Surrounding Baltic sea and neighboring States)
  • Eastern Finland
  • The Black Sea
  • The Eastern Mediterranean area is near Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Northern Iraq.

Cyber-attacks against Viasat, resulting in a widespread outage in Europe last month, led Western intelligence agencies to launch an investigation last month.

After a cyber-attack at Viasat on February 24, nearly 9,000 subscribers to Nordnet’s satellite internet service in France were taken offline. 

Not only that, due to this same cyber incident, 40,000 subscribers of the bigblu satellite internet service were also affected in the following countries:-

  • Germany
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Poland

According to VIASAT, the “cyber event” caused a “partial network outage” across Europe for customers using its KA-SAT satellite. And originally, it was thought that the cyberattack had been caused by a DDoS attack.

In this event, Viasat has confirmed that for remote access to modems, the threat actors have exploited a misconfiguration in the management section of the satellite network. While apart from this, Viasat has not provided any technical details regarding this cyber incident. 

Mitigation actions recommended

Here below we have listed all the mitigations recommended:-

  • For authentication, always use secure methods.
  • Through authorization policies always implement the least privilege.
  • Across all communications, links apply all the necessary encryption.
  • Always keep your system, software, and firmware updated.
  • Always monitor the system and network logs for suspicious activity.
  • Always maintain and implement best security practices.

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