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Space Force Notes Increasing Cyber Threats to US Satellite Network

Cyber threats to

US space assets

Space Force Notes Increasing Cyber Threats to US Satellite Network

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, chief of the Space Operations Command, said that satellite operators are wrestling with fears that the ground systems and network equipment used to operate space systems are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. He revealed that a key challenge for the Space Force today is how to assess contemporary cybersecurity risks amid persistent threat actors from adversary nations becoming bolder, SpaceNews reported Thursday.

Speaking at the Space Policy Show hosted by the Aerospace Corp., Whiting said cyber and malware attacks can be launched against satellites at a relatively low cost. The general described the cyber domain as the “soft underbelly” of America’s extensive space network.

Whiting explained that the military is far more comfortable with addressing physical security threats. The Space Force needed to seek, and has received, help from the cybersecurity community in the private sector to address invisible cyber threats.

The SOC’s top officer admitted that the Space Force is far less confident about confronting cyber threats as it is with the prospect of repelling an armed assault. He, however, said that countries posing a persistent threat to the United States’ space assets are no longer operating in secret.

Whiting cited Russia’s attempts to penetrate Ukraine’s communications satellite infrastructure ahead of the February invasion, saying this may foreshadow future cyber battles. It was noted that SpaceX chief executive officer Elon Musk reported the jamming of Starlink communication satellites near Ukrainian conflict areas.

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Category: Space

Tags: Aerospace Corp. cyber security risk navigation satellite space Space Policy Show SpaceNews Stephen Whiting US Space Force