CivilInternational

JAXA Suffers Cyberattack

Image: JAXA

Hackers infiltrated Japan’s space agency’s internal systems this summer, but it doesn’t appear they accessed info related to the country’s launch or satellite operations, JAXA announced.

“There was a possibility of unauthorized access by exploiting the vulnerability of network equipment,” according to a JAXA spokesperson.

This is the third time that JAXA’s Earthly systems have suffered cyberattacks, with one in 2012 and one in 2016. The latter incident was part of a larger cyber campaign that officials believe originated from an espionage group under the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. 

  • Police identified the perpetrator of that attack, but Tokyo prosecutors chose not to indict him for unknown reasons.
  • Japanese investigators have not yet determined the source of this year’s attack.

The attack, which took place sometime this past summer, flew under the radar until Japanese police informed JAXA this fall. The server breached included mainly personal information on employees.

What now? JAXA has shut down part of its intranet as it continues to probe into the source and extent of the attack. Japan’s government has asked the agency to implement additional security measures to prevent future attacks.

The upshot: Cyberattacks are growing more frequent and worrisome in the space domain. Russia leveraged attacks on Viasat ground infrastructure and jammed Starlink terminals in Ukraine near the beginning of its invasion, and the Pentagon has intelligence that China is working on more robust counterspace capabilities that include hijacking spacecraft.

Though the JAXA hack doesn’t seem to have revealed important operational data, it points to the importance of effectively securing space systems on the ground to prevent disruptions to national security, banking, and communications systems, among other things.

Related Stories
InternationalStartups

Scottish Space Network, Sustainable Alpha Team Up To Grow Scottish Space Sector

The Scottish Space Network expects Scotland’s space sector to more than double in the coming years.

InternationalLaunch

Europe’s Ariane 6 Gets Its Date With Space

Europe’s long-delayed Ariane 6 rocket will make its debut launch attempt on July 9, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher announced Wednesday at the ILA Berlin Air Show. 

Civil

SpaceX Won’t Be Visiting Hubble Anytime Soon

Hubble has seen better days—and with NASA formally rejecting SpaceX’s commercial repair offer, that’s unlikely to change. 

InternationalPolaris

Meet Lithuania, the 40th Artemis Accords Signatory

“For us, it’s very important to become a part of international cooperation platforms and international initiatives,” Neringa Morozaitė-Rasmussen, Lithuania’s vice-minister of the economy and innovation, told Payload. “We see it as an important agreement that…emphasizes peaceful exploration, which is the essence for us.”