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Like global warming, companies and governments worldwide are beginning to take a forward-thinking stance on space cybersecurity and the emerging cybersecurity threats to space equipment, software and communications.

This has a lot to do with the main targets of cyber attacks on space systems:  governments and international bodies.

According to the Federal Register (the Daily Journal of the United States Government), space cybersecurity is essential because space systems enable key functions such as global communications; positioning, navigation and timing; scientific observation; exploration; weather monitoring; and multiple vital national security applications.

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
  • 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.

Any of these space cybersecurity issues have the potential of resulting in collisions that can impair systems or generate harmful orbital debris.

While there are existing cybersecurity standards that can be tweaked and implemented to make the space industrial ecosystem more secure, more long-term solutions are being called for.

One such solution that has been discussed is the zero trust architecture. With zero trust, devices and equipment are hermetically sealed from a system’s access standpoint, limiting unauthorized user access even within an organization.

Zero trust reduces operational risk because even if a hacker gains access to systems on earth, gaining additional access is almost impossible due to zero trust architecture’s decentralized nature.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Cybersecurity Principles for Satellite and Space Systems, a 2-day interactive workshop designed to provide a unique learning experience on space and satellite vulnerabilities that are commonly exploited. Participants will discover techniques and strategies for integrating cybersecurity measures into space and SATCOM systems, networks, products and critical missions from the start.

This course is a knowledge-level course designed to provide a knowledge base of Cybersecurity applied to SATCOM. Lessons and exercises taught by subject matter experts will expand the student’s understanding of the space and radio frequency environments, capabilities and limitations of military and commercial SATCOM systems, threats to all segments of SATCOM, planning processes, cybersecurity attacks and mitigation techniques.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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