U.S. officials are warning that the possible cyber-attacks during the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine could extend to assets in space. Top officials are urging military and commercial space operators to be prepared for GPS jamming, spoofing, and cyber-attacks. Courtney Albon of DefenseNews writes (abridged):
Reports from the Secure World Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies document Russia’s use of non-kinetic disruptive space capabilities in Ukraine in recent years, including spoofing and jamming as well as cyber-attacks.
“Russia places a high priority on integrating electronic warfare into military operations and has been investing heavily in modernizing this capability,” the Secure World Foundation said in its 2021 Global Counterspace Capabilities report. “Russia has a multitude of systems that can jam GPS receivers within a local area, potentially interfering with the guidance systems of unmanned aerial vehicles, guided missiles and precision guided munitions, but has no known capability to interfere with GPS satellites themselves using radio frequency interference.”
One such electronic warfare platform is the Tirada-2, which entered service in 2019. According to SWF, the system can reportedly performing uplink jamming on communication satellites. Another system, Bylina-MM, is being designed to “suppress the on-board transponders” of some communication satellites.
In its 2021 Space Threat Assessment, the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted that Russia’s arsenal of electronic counterspace capabilities include two radar jammers — Karushka-2 and Karushka-4 — which could interfere with radar reconnaissance satellites.
Scolese said this week it’s likely Russia will employ jamming and spoofing capabilities to some extent – though he noted it’s not clear how far it will go.
“I think it’s fair to assume that to the extent that they can and to the extent that they feel it won’t extend the conflict out of their control, that they will extend it into space,” he said. “You can imagine they’re already doing GPS jamming, for example, and doing things against Ukraine.”
Ukraine was recently hit with a “Wiper” attack which destroys data on infected machines. Targets included banks and government websites. The incident appeared to originate from a DDoS attack writes Joe Tidy of BBC News. He writes (abridged):
“ESET researchers have announced the discovery of a new data wiper malware used in Ukraine, which they have named HermeticWiper,” a spokesman said.
“ESET telemetry shows that the malware was installed on hundreds of machines in the country.”
The team says the malicious software showed a timestamp of creation for 28 December 2021, implying that the attack may have been planned since then. […]
On Tuesday, the EU announced a cyber rapid-response team (CRRT) was being deployed across Europe, after a call for help from Ukraine.
It is not known if the team of experts from six volunteer countries is helping to defend against this latest attack.
DDoS attacks have been used in various campaigns as a part of Russia’s so-called “hybrid warfare” tactics, combining cyber-attacks with traditional military activity.
DDoS attacks hit Georgia and Crimea during the incursions in 2008 and 2014 respectively.
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