ALMA observatory in Chile suffers a Cyberattack

A few days ago, Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) observatory in Chile, a constellation of telescopes over a billion dollars suffered a cyberattack. The attack took down the computer systems at ALMA and it is not clear when the observatory would be back online, if at all. It is speculated that the attack took place due to human errors or social engineering. After Viasat in Ukraine, this seems to be the biggest cyberattack on a space system.

The article does discuss a comment stating that the cryptographic security of space systems needs to be considered more seriously. As we heard in the invited talk last week in class, bypassing cryptography essentially lets an attacker control a satellite as their own. With billions of dollars in manufacturing and launch costs, decisions to standardize communication protocols and security to protect them against such attacks need to be made swiftly.