from Net Politics and Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

New Cyber Brief: Cybersecurity and the New Era of Space Activities

A Tesla Roadster automobile floats through space after it was carried there by SpaceX's Falcon Heavy. SpaceX handout/Reuters

The tasks of securing outer space and cyberspace are converging, and experts are worried that the space industry is not taking cybersecurity threats seriously. CFR Senior Fellow David P. Fidler explains in a new brief. 

April 2, 2018

A Tesla Roadster automobile floats through space after it was carried there by SpaceX's Falcon Heavy. SpaceX handout/Reuters
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The Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program has launched a new Cyber Brief. This one examines the link between cybersecurity and the security of satellites and other objects in outer space. The brief was written by David P. Fidler, adjunct senior fellow for cybersecurity and global health and regular on Net Politics

The tasks of securing outer space and cyberspace are converging. The internet increasingly depends on space-enabled communication and information services. Likewise, the operation of satellites and other space assets relies on internet-based networks, which makes these assets, like cars and medical equipment, devices on the internet of things. New government actors, companies, goals, and technologies are expanding and transforming space activities. However, neither space policy nor cybersecurity policy is prepared for the challenges created by the meshing of space and cyberspace, which could increase national security risks.

Fidler argues that government, industry, and international action is needed to meet these challenges. The Donald J. Trump administration’s National Space Council should develop cybersecurity recommendations for space activities, and federal agencies should prioritize these within the government and in cooperation with the private sector. In crafting needed legislation for commercial space activities, Congress should bolster industry efforts to strengthen cybersecurity. Private-sector actors should strengthen their adoption of cybersecurity best practices and collaborate with one another on improving implementation of cybersecurity strategies. Internationally, the United States should pursue collaboration on space cybersecurity through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, plurilateral space cooperation mechanisms, and bilateral forums.

You can find the full brief here.

More on:

Space

Cybersecurity

United States

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