On February 24th 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine by launching a series of attacks against Kyiv as well as several cities located at the border of Russia and Belarus. Concurrently, Russia conducted a cyberattack against ViaSat’s KA-SAT GEO satellite network, which was used by the Ukrainian army, thereby providing a concrete example of the use of cyber operations in complementarity with conventional military operations on land, sea, and air. In the space community, the KA-SAT cyberattack raised a broader debate regarding the cybersecurity of space systems and the protection of critical infrastructures.
The KA-SAT cyberattack can be considered as a good representative case of the state of cybersecurity in the space sector as well as a good illustration of the evolution of the militarization and weaponization of both space and cyberspace.
The report is a case study of the KA-SAT cyberattack, which enable to draw lessons to learn for the cybersecurity of the European space infrastructure. The report is focusing on:
- The links and interdependences between space and cyberspace;
- The technical description of the KA-SAT cyberattack;
- A general analysis on similar cyber threats on the space supply chain and the user segment;
- Lessons to learn from the KA-SAT cyberattack;
- An analysis on the next steps for the cybersecurity of the European space infrastructure.
This study is part of a new category of ESPI publications called ESPI SHORTS, which are small self-funded research projects that aim at providing a very synthesized and critical analysis over space-related issues that we consider important and/or overlooked in the European space policy landscape.