Steps Toward Securitizing Commercial Space Networks

By Megan Moloney and Patricia Lukanich

The lines between government and the commercial space industry continue to blur. There have been concerning signals across the international community that adversarial nations may consider civilian infrastructure a legitimate target during military conflicts. As governments increasingly rely on commercial space capability, companies big and small are rethinking their cybersecurity posture to withstand nation-state attacks.

The Feb. 22 attack on VIASAT’s commercial satellite network was eye-opening evidence of this new reality. Moreover, the increasing commercialization of space is only broadening the attack surface and increasing the attractiveness of cyberattacks. Significant and immediate steps can be taken to protect commercial space assets and the essential functions they perform impacting critical infrastructure.

The 2022 National Defense Strategy released on Oct. 27 recognizes that the evolution of both the cyber and space domains is changing the security environment, specifically noting that “[c]ompetitors now commonly seek adverse changes in the status quo using gray zone methods– coercive approaches that may fall below perceived thresholds for U.S. military action and across areas of responsibility of different parts of the U.S. Government.”

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