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Cybersecurity is crucial for satellite and space systems because the U.S. and DoD consider unfettered freedom to operate in space vital to advancing the security, economic prosperity, and scientific knowledge of the Nation and its allies.

Space systems enable key functions such as global communications, scientific observation exploration, weather monitoring, and multiple vital national security applications. Consequently, the push is on to protect space systems from cyber incidents in order to prevent disruptions to their ability to provide reliable and efficient contributions to the operations of the Nation’s critical infrastructure.

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.

Cybersecurity experts believe space system owners and operators should develop and implement cybersecurity plans for their space systems that incorporate capabilities to ensure operators or automated control center systems can retain or recover positive control of space vehicles.

These plans should also ensure the ability to verify the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of critical functions and the missions, services, and data they enable and provide. At a minimum, space system owners and operators should consider, based on risk assessment and tolerance, incorporating in their plans:

  • Protection against unauthorized access to critical space vehicle functions
  • Physical protection measures designed to reduce the vulnerabilities of a space vehicle’s command, control and telemetry receiver systems
  • Protection against communications jamming and spoofing
  • Protection of ground systems, operational technology and information processing systems 
  • Adoption of appropriate cybersecurity hygiene practices, physical security for automated information systems, and intrusion detection methodologies 
  • Management of supply chain risks that affect cybersecurity of space systems through tracking manufactured products

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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