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DOD Space Agency: Cyber Attacks, the Worrisome Threat to Satellites

Intelligence agencies and analysts warn that China and Russia are developing missiles that could strike the US Space Agency. It will be a mounting concern for the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency, which plans to deploy a network of satellites within the range of those missiles.

Derek Tournear, the director of the Space Agency asserted that it is looking at the possible threats to its satellites and is less worried about the missile strikes. Instead, the agency officials think that the satellites are more prone to getting caught by cyber attacks.SDA plans to start launching satellites into space in 2022 with a goal of having hundreds in orbit by 2024. These satellites will be utilized for communications and missile detection. These satellites may not be invulnerable to the ground-based network of weapons, such as ballistic missiles, said Derek Tournear.

Having a network of hundreds of efficiently capable satellites could help reduce the risk of cyber attacks. Such proliferation makes the system resilient to fight any types of attacks threatening the US Space Agency. The tremendous point is that even if one or a handful of satellites get destroyed, the proliferation of high-intensity satellites could continue to function.

“Cyber and supply chain are the two threats that I’m concerned about,” he further stated. Tournear described cyber and supply chain problems as common mode failures which means that if a few satellites are attacked, the whole system would be out of service. In such a scenario, the Defense Department would get exposed and the fragilities would be confined to get the upper hand always. These attacks have the ability to take the whole system out, and it doesn’t depend on the number of satellites that a network possesses.

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