Industry Execs on Cybersecurity Risks Associated With New Low-Earth Orbit Satellites

Some industry leaders said new low-Earth orbit satellites may create a larger attack surface for cyber threat actors, Via Satellite reported Friday.

Ronald Einhorn, space programs lead systems engineer for Airbus’ defense and space business, said Friday during a panel discussion at CyberSat that LEO satellites provide hackers “additional points of entry” as they try to disrupt the service that a satellite constellation offers.

Dennis Gatens, chief commercial officer at Cloud Constellation, said operators can update and patch the new generation of software-defined LEO satellites in orbit compared with hardware-based platforms.

“You can make them more secure today than the ones we’ve had sitting in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) or Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) for years,” Gatens added.

Ahsen Abbasi, senior technical manager for real time operations at Iridium Communications, said he believes LEO satellites pose a challenge to cyber hackers.

“The fact they’re in LEO means that you don’t have the same access time from the ground. You have to have more precise knowledge of location … you have to have the ability to track it,” Abbasi said.

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