||Gather FSW Development Information
||Threat actors may obtain information regarding the flight software (FSW) development environment for the victim spacecraft. This information may include the development environment, source code, compiled binaries, testing tools, and fault management.
|| Development Environment
||Threat actors may gather information regarding the development environment for the victim spacecraft's FSW. This information can include IDEs, configurations, source code, environment variables, source code repositories, code "secrets", and compiled binaries.
||Compromise Supply Chain
||Threat actors may manipulate or compromise products or product delivery mechanisms before the customer receives them in order to achieve data or system compromise.
|| Software Supply Chain
||Threat actors may manipulate software binaries and applications prior to the customer receiving them in order to achieve data or system compromise. This attack can take place in a number of ways, including manipulation of source code, manipulation of the update and/or distribution mechanism, or replacing compiled versions with a malicious one.
||Compromise Software Defined Radio
||Threat actors may target software defined radios due to their software nature to establish C2 channels. Since SDRs are programmable, when combined with supply chain or development environment attacks, SDRs provide a pathway to setup covert C2 channels for a threat actor.
||Compromise Hosted Payload
||Threat actors may compromise the target spacecraft hosted payload to initially access and/or persist within the system. Hosted payloads can usually be accessed from the ground via a specific command set. The command pathways can leverage the same ground infrastructure or some host payloads have their own ground infrastructure which can provide an access vector as well. Threat actors may be able to leverage the ability to command hosted payloads to upload files or modify memory addresses in order to compromise the system. Depending on the implementation, hosted payloads may provide some sort of lateral movement potential.
||Compromise Ground System
||Threat actors may initially compromise the ground system in order to access the target spacecraft. Once compromised, the threat actor can perform a multitude of initial access techniques, including replay, compromising FSW deployment, compromising encryption keys, and compromising authentication schemes. Threat actors may also perform further reconnaissance within the system to enumerate mission networks and gather information related to ground station logical topology, missions ran out of said ground station, birds that are in-band of targeted ground stations, and other mission system capabilities.
|| Compromise On-Orbit Update
||Threat actors may manipulate and modify on-orbit updates before they are sent to the target spacecraft. This attack can be done in a number of ways, including manipulation of source code, manipulating environment variables, on-board table/memory values, or replacing compiled versions with a malicious one.
||Assembly, Test, and Launch Operation Compromise
||Threat actors may target the spacecraft hardware and/or software while the spacecraft is at Assembly, Test, and Launch Operation (ATLO). ATLO is often the first time pieces of the spacecraft are fully integrated and exchanging data across interfaces. Malware could propagate from infected devices across the integrated spacecraft. For example, test equipment (i.e., transient cyber asset) is often brought in for testing elements of the spacecraft. Additionally, varying levels of physical security is in place which may be a reduction in physical security typically seen during development. The ATLO environment should be considered a viable attack vector and the appropriate/equivalent security controls from the primary development environment should be implemented during ATLO as well.
||Threat actors may find and target various backdoors, or inject their own, within the victim spacecraft in the hopes of maintaining their attack.
||Threat actors may inject code to create their own backdoor to establish persistent access to the spacecraft. This may be done through modification of code throughout the software supply chain or through modification of the software-defined radio configuration (if applicable).
||Threat actors may use the hosted payload within the victim spacecraft in order to gain access to other subsystems. The hosted payload often has a need to gather and send data to the internal subsystems, depending on its purpose. Threat actors may be able to take advantage of this communication in order to laterally move to the other subsystems and have commands be processed.
||Modify Communications Configuration
||Threat actors can manipulate communications equipment, modifying the existing software, hardware, or the transponder configuration to exfiltrate data via unintentional channels the mission has no control over.
|| Software Defined Radio
||Threat actors may target software defined radios due to their software nature to setup exfiltration channels. Since SDRs are programmable, when combined with supply chain or development environment attacks, SDRs provide a pathway to setup covert exfiltration channels for a threat actor.
||Threat actors may change the transponder configuration to exfiltrate data via radio access to an attacker-controlled asset.
||Compromised Developer Site
||Threat actors may compromise development environments located within the ground system or a developer/partner site. This attack can take place in a number of different ways, including manipulation of source code, manipulating environment variables, or replacing compiled versions with a malicious one. This technique is usually performed before the target spacecraft is in orbit, with the hopes of adding malicious code to the actual FSW during the development process.