Exploit Hardware/Firmware Corruption: Malicious Use of Hardware Commands

Threat actors may utilize various hardware commands and perform malicious activities with them. Hardware commands typically differ from traditional command channels as they bypass many of the traditional protections and pathways and are more direct therefore they can be dangerous if not protected. Hardware commands are sometime a necessity to perform various actions such as configuring sensors, adjusting positions, and rotating internal motors. Threat actors may use these commands to perform malicious activities that can damage the victim spacecraft in some capacity.

ID: EX-0005.02
Sub-technique of:  EX-0005
Related Aerospace Threat IDs:  SV-AC-8
Created: 2022/10/19
Last Modified: 2022/12/08


ID Name Description NIST Rev5
CM0032 On-board Intrusion Detection & Prevention Utilize on-board intrusion detection/prevention system that monitors the mission critical components or systems and audit/logs actions. The IDS/IPS should have the capability to respond to threats (initial access, execution, persistence, evasion, exfiltration, etc.) and it should address signature-based attacks along with dynamic never-before seen attacks using machine learning/adaptive technologies. The IDS/IPS must integrate with traditional fault management to provide a wholistic approach to faults on-board the spacecraft. Spacecraft should select and execute safe countermeasures against cyber-attacks.  These countermeasures are a ready supply of options to triage against the specific types of attack and mission priorities. Minimally, the response should ensure vehicle safety and continued operations. Ideally, the goal is to trap the threat, convince the threat that it is successful, and trace and track the attacker — with or without ground support. This would support successful attribution and evolving countermeasures to mitigate the threat in the future. “Safe countermeasures” are those that are compatible with the system’s fault management system to avoid unintended effects or fratricide on the system. AU-14 AU-2 AU-3 AU-3(1) AU-4 AU-4(1) AU-5 AU-5(2) AU-5(5) AU-6(1) AU-6(4) AU-8 AU-9 AU-9(2) AU-9(3) CA-7(6) CM-11(3) CP-10 CP-10(4) IR-4 IR-4(11) IR-4(12) IR-4(14) IR-4(5) IR-5 IR-5(1) RA-10 RA-3(4) SA-8(21) SA-8(22) SA-8(23) SC-16(2) SC-32(1) SC-5 SC-5(3) SC-7(10) SC-7(9) SI-10(6) SI-16 SI-17 SI-3 SI-3(8) SI-4 SI-4(1) SI-4(10) SI-4(11) SI-4(13) SI-4(16) SI-4(17) SI-4(2) SI-4(23) SI-4(24) SI-4(25) SI-4(4) SI-4(5) SI-6 SI-7(17) SI-7(8)
CM0043 Backdoor Commands Ensure that all viable commands are known to the mission/spacecraft owner. Perform analysis of critical (backdoor/hardware) commands that could adversely affect mission success if used maliciously. Only use or include critical commands for the purpose of providing emergency access where commanding authority is appropriately restricted.  SI-10 SI-10(3) SI-10(6) SI-3(8)


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