A protocol is a set of rules (i.e., formats and procedures) to implement and control some type of association (e.g., communication) between systems. Protocols can have vulnerabilities within their specification and may require updating or refactoring based on vulnerabilities or emerging threats (i.e., quantum computing).
|Threat actors may seek to capture network communications throughout the ground station and radio frequency (RF) communication used for uplink and downlink communications. RF communication frequencies vary between 30MHz and 60 GHz. Threat actors may capture RF communications using specialized hardware, such as software defined radio (SDR), handheld radio, or a computer with radio demodulator turned to the communication frequency. Network communications may be captured using packet capture software while the threat actor is on the target network.
|Threat actors may capture the RF communications as it pertains to the uplink to the victim spacecraft. This information can contain commanding information that the threat actor can use to perform other attacks against the victim spacecraft.
|Threat actors may capture the RF communications as it pertains to the downlink of the victim spacecraft. This information can contain important telemetry such as onboard status and mission data.
|Threat actors may capture signals and/or network communications as they travel on-board the vehicle (i.e., EMSEC/TEMPEST), via RF, or terrestrial networks. This information can be decoded to determine commanding and telemetry protocols, command times, and other information that could be used for future attacks.
|Threat actors may seek to capture network communications throughout the ground station and communication channel (i.e. radio frequency, optical) used for uplink and downlink communications
|Threat actors may target the uplink connection from the victim ground infrastructure to the target spacecraft in order to exfiltrate commanding data. Depending on the implementation (i.e., encryption) the captured uplink data can be used to further other attacks like command link intrusion, replay, etc.
|Threat actors may target the downlink connection from the victim spacecraft in order to exfiltrate telemetry or payload data. This data can include health information of the spacecraft or mission data that is being collected/analyzed on the spacecraft. Downlinked data can even include mirrored command sessions which can be used for future campaigns or to help perpetuate other techniques.
|Weak communication protocols. Ones that don't have strong encryption within it