There have been a number of recent assaults on satellites and aircraft, prompting the warning that “disrupting and degrading US satellite communications, remote sensing, and imaging capabilities” is a real danger that might compromise business secrets.
Companies are cautioned to keep records of unusual occurrences, to create an insider-threat programme to identify moles, and to be aware of invitations to visit from foreign organisations and of outreach efforts at conferences and online. Unsolicited offers to establish are another red flag.
Both China and Russia have denied suggestions that they have attempted to hack into or otherwise impair space systems. There was no quick reaction to a request for comment from the Russian or Chinese embassies in Washington.
According to a US counterintelligence officer, the US is especially interested in assisting medium and smaller satellite enterprises, who may be unaware of the extent and sorts of vulnerabilities, in improving their own mitigation measures and resilience.
Targets have also included large satellite firms with ties to the government. More than 45,000 modems in Europe and elsewhere had to be replaced when Viasat Inc. was the target of a hack in 2022, months before Russia invaded Ukraine.
This month, the US orbit Force introduced a new targeting unit to deal with the danger posed by adversaries in orbit and at ground stations to US satellite systems.