A satellite dish at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in North Carolina.
Freeside510 / Flickr

In September 2014, hackers from China broke into the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) network in an attempt to disrupt data related to disaster planning, aviation, and much more coming from U.S. satellites. This breach was the latest in a series of cyberattacks on space systems, exposing the Achilles’ heel of such technology: the vulnerability of its computers and the information it creates and transmits. Cyberattacks, which are on the rise in every industry, pose particularly significant threats to space systems as they are used so ubiquitously in corporate and military operations, making them increasingly attractive targets for hackers. 

Although only about a dozen countries have the capability to launch a satellite into space, billions of people around the world rely on space systems for nearly every aspect of modern life. Satellites are used to support phones, the Internet, and banking systems. They are also used to

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  • DEGANIT PAIKOWSKY is a post-doctoral fellow at the Davis Institute for International Relations at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a senior researcher at the Yuval Nee’man Workshop for Science, Technology, and Security at Tel-Aviv University. She is also a research associate at the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University and a consultant to the space committee of Israel’s National Council for Research and Development.
  • GIL BARAM is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science at Tel-Aviv University, and a researcher at the Yuval Nee’man workshop for Science, Technology, and Security at Tel-Aviv University.
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