Issue #3(21) 2019 Security

Space cybersecurity - why we mustn’t forget the basics

James Vaughan
James Vaughan
Frank Pound Astrosec, Virginia, USA

As access to space becomes more democratised through low-cost launch, relaxation of restrictive laws and a substantial political desire not seen since the Apollo programme, it is vital that any organisation working in this domain has a solid cybersecurity foundation. From satellite sensor to ground infrastructure, an efficient, mature and well thought out strategy is necessary to underpin a robust cybersecurity space posture.

The rapid evolution of the technological landscape of space operations means the cybersecurity aspects of system architectures and rules of engagement are not able to keep up.

US space-based observation efforts have been underway since the 1960s and along with that significant experience comes an extreme amount of technical debt. Few objects populated space when the first LANDSAT took pictures of Earth so management of data streams, spacecraft and orbits of those spacecraft was relatively simple.

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