Today, cybersecurity concerns reach beyond Earth and into the depths of space and the highway of satellites around the Earth.
Many experts argue that the greatest cybersecurity challenges lie in space because just about every aspect of our modern lives connect in some way to networking and telecommunications systems, including both private and military operations.
Satellites provide information and services to support global communications, the economy, security and defense, safety and emergency management, the environment and health. Their strategic value inevitably raises the issue of cybersecurity. The information they provide thus becomes a lucrative and enticing prospect for bad actors of both the domestic and foreign state-sponsored type.
The space sector is unique in the field of cybersecurity. It is an industry where civil, commercial and military applications seamlessly coexist, creating a haphazard situation for cybersecurity experts and telecommunication engineers.
Over several years there has been substantial interest in the issues of cybersecurity and space security but the general consensus is that far too little attention has been paid to the combination of the two security problems.
This was in large part the reasoning behind the return of the DoD’s Department of Space Command in 2018.
Cyberspace operations can and do create effects across the battlespace—both directly and indirectly. Clearly, cyberspace can no longer be thought of in terms of terrestrial, internet protocol-based networks.
In reality, cyberspace has emerged as a domain that is essential to the conduct of all Air Force operations. It is a warfighting domain that is just as critical to ensuring our national security as the other domains of land, sea, air, and space. Cyberspace cuts across all domains. However, unlike the other domains, cyberspace is man-made and therefore must be operated and maintained.
The complexity of conducting full spectrum operations in cyberspace, while also provisioning and protecting the domain, requires innovative thinking as the Air Force matures command and control processes for cyberspace forces and missions.
Add to that, a satellite can be vulnerable to a number of different types of attacks that can be more difficult to interpret than physical damage, especially in terms of the potential for corrupted signals.
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Our Space Operations and Cybersecurity courses include:
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