Strategy, Threat intelligence

DoD space agency: Cyber attacks, not missiles, are the most worrisome threat to satellites

April 14, 2021
SpaceNews reports that according to Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear, cyberattacks and supply chain intrusions are more of a threat to U.S. satellites than missile strikes. While satellites are not invulnerable to missile strikes, a proliferated satellite network makes them more resilient to such attacks, Tournear explained at an online Washington Space Business Roundtable forum. Destroying one or several satellites would not significantly affect how the satellite network functions, but a cyberattack could be damaging since the whole network would be affected even if just several areas of a system are attacked, he added. “Those are the threats that I’m most focused on, because those are the ones that I think can have the biggest devastating effect, whereas the other threats, I actually think proliferation gives us significant advantages,” said Tournear.

SDA has begun working with other Department of Defense agencies to encrypt and develop other security tools for the satellites. The agency will also collaborate with vendors to ensure the safety of the sources of the components and to reduce supply chain intrusion risks.
Jill Aitoro

SC Media Editor in Chief Jill Aitoro has 20 years of experience editing and reporting on technology, business and policy. She also serves as editorial director at SC Media’s parent company, CyberRisk Alliance. Prior to joining CRA, she worked at Sightline Media as editor of Defense News and executive editor of the Business-to-Government Group. She previously worked at Washington Business Journal and Nextgov, covering federal technology, contracting and policy, as well as CMP Media’s VARBusiness and CRN and Penton Media’s iSeries News.

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