Thousands of small satellite dish-based computer systems that transmit often-sensitive data from far flung locations worldwide – oil rigs, ships at sea, banks, and even power grid substations – are at high risk of being hacked, including many in the United States, a new cyber-security report has found.
Very-small-aperture terminals, or VSATs, are workhorses for the oil and gas industry, utilities, and even news media. Journalists send reports via VSAT from firebases in Afghanistan, energy companies gather production data from oil drilling operations, and retail outlets send sales data back to corporate headquarters every day. Banks use VSATs for transactions between branches and headquarters.
But at least 10,500 of those terminals globally are wide open to being hacked, including some used in critical US infrastructure systems, according to the new report by IntelCrawler, a Los Angeles-based cyber-security firm.