EU, UK, US Directly Accuse Russia Of Hacking ViaSat Satellites
from the easily-avoidable dept
For literally more than a decade researchers warned that global satellite telecommunications networks were vulnerable to attack. These attacks vary in nature but several allowed an intruder miles away to both intercept and disrupt satellite communications. In 2020 hackers again clearly demonstrated how these perpetually unresolved vulnerabilities were putting millions of people at risk.
Fast forward to 2022 and a major hack of Viasat’s satellite systems caused (gasp) massive problems for tens of thousands of users. The attack on Viasat’s KA-SAT satellite system, suspected at the time to be the work of the Russian government, was aimed at disrupting Ukraine communications in the lead up to war. But, as such attacks often do, it also managed to impact a very large chunk of Europe.
This week, the EU and UK formally accused Russia of the attack, pointing out that it occurred exactly one hour before the country invaded Ukraine:
“The European Union and its Member States, together with its international partners, strongly condemn the malicious cyber activity conducted by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which targeted the satellite KA-SAT network, operated by Viasat.”
The full press release formally accuses Russia of several other attacks during the invasion, including the 13 January defacements of Ukrainian government websites, and the deployment of Whispergate malware. After it was released the US put out its own statement also directly blaming Russia.
There’s no limit of telecom infrastructure vulnerabilities (including those routinely exploited by the United States) we’ve addressed too little, too late. The SS7 flaw, for example, has been exploited for years by global intelligence agencies and criminals (assuming you see the two segments independently) despite repeated complaints by security experts.
Instead of taking these warnings seriously and genuinely shoring up overall privacy and security (be it a telecom network or election system), U.S. policymakers and the broader discourse brain trust spent several years… hyperventilating about TikTok.