Space cybersecurity is a serious matter.
So much so that in February the U.S. Space Force began receiving its first cybersecurity personnel. Most of those cyber personnel transitioning into the new force come from within the Department of the Air Force, which oversees the Space Force. In total, the force has brought in 2,400 of the 6,400 active duty cyber personnel it’s planning to have.
These space security personnel (known as cyber guardians), will be assigned to protecting satellites and other space-based assets from cyber-attacks because, as space force commanding general John Raymond put it, “There’s a spectrum of threats out there.”
The Space Force is the smallest U.S. armed service, consisting of 2,501 guardians and operating 77 spacecraft. It’s the world’s first and currently only independent space force.
Space systems are reliant on information systems and networks from design conceptualization through launch and flight operations. Further, the transmission of command and control and mission information between space vehicles and ground networks relies on the use of radio-frequency-dependent wireless communication channels.
These systems, networks, and channels can be vulnerable to malicious activities that can deny, degrade or disrupt space operations, or even destroy satellites.
Examples of malicious cyber activities harmful to space operations include spoofing sensor data; corrupting sensor systems; jamming or sending unauthorized commands for guidance and control; injecting malicious code; and conducting denial-of-service attacks.
Consequences of such activities could include loss of mission data; decreased life span or capability of space systems or constellations; or the loss of positive control of space vehicles, potentially resulting in collisions that can impair systems or generate harmful orbital debris.
A few years ago, The White House National Security Strategy of December 2017 stated that “The United States must maintain our leadership and freedom of action in space.” And, as the space domain is contested, it is necessary for developers, manufacturers, owners, and operators of space systems to design, build, operate, and manage them so that they are resilient to cyber incidents and radio-frequency spectrum interference.
Want to know more? Our Certified Space Security Specialist Professional (CSSSP) training, a 5-day course, is ideal for space and security practitioners, analysts, engineers, managers and executives interested in proving their knowledge across space security practices and principles.
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