US Intelligence warns on cyberattacks on space industry

US Intelligence agencies has warned against cyberattacks on the US space industry by ‘foreign intelligence operations’

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In an advisory, the FBI, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) has warned against cyberattacks on the US space industry since it is becoming increasingly important to the global economy. According to intelligence agencies, China and Russia are the leading foreign intelligence threats to the US space industry.

The US government and intelligence agencies have warned about the potential threats and opportunities that foreign intelligence entities (FIEs) pose to the US space industry. These FIEs view US space-related innovations and assets as potential risks and valuable assets to acquire vital technologies and expertise. The tactics used by FIEs include cyberattacks, strategic investments, targeting key supply chain nodes, and other techniques to gain access to the US space industry.

In response to these threats, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission has advised The White House to designate space as a critical infrastructure sector and take steps to protect satellites and other space systems from cyberattacks. Russia’s recent attack on the satellite company Viasat has heightened concerns within the industry.

The advisory cautions the US space industry to remain vigilant against various methods employed by FIEs. These include facility visit requests, attempts to gather confidential information at conferences, recruitment efforts through travel abroad or consultancy work offers, and payment for proprietary information. The advisory advises the industry to report any targeted activities immediately or observe peculiar incidents to the FBI or AFOSI. It also recommends establishing programs such as “insider threat” to thoroughly vet individuals in sensitive positions.