According to a report by IOActive, a cyber-security company, satellites are vulnerable to hackers. These vulnerabilities are not just enough to let an attacker access information the satellite is sending or receiving, but enough to take direct it through space.

Credits: john_dulaney

Obviously there are some concerns about satellites being this open to hackers. The biggest of which is terrorism.

In some of the satellites IOActive reverse-engineered they discovered that something as simple as a text message could take hijack the satellite’s main terminal.

Hackers with access to SATCOM satellites could fake positions of airplanes and ships that they are monitoring. Not to mention that hackers would also have access to critical devices that ships, airplanes, oil rigs, pipelines, wind turbines, and other information infrastructures depend on.

It’s unclear as to whether SATCOM, the manufacturer of these satellites, is taking these vulnerabilities seriously or not. They claim that the satellites they created are “very secure when security features are turned on and used properly.” But the vulnerability researchers used replicas of the code found on the satellites exactly as they are running in space.

In the meantime we’ll just have to worry about falling satellites. If only SATCOM’s creators could take these matters more seriously… We all know how easy it is to overlook such exploits until it’s too late.