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Space ISAC: Cyber Warfare, Space Weather Keep Threat Levels High for Industry

By Mark Holmes | June 7, 2024

Photo: Via Satellite illustration

Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Space ISAC) has reaffirmed its recommendation to maintain the Threat Level at Level 3 which is High for the space industry. It said the purpose of this announcement is to raise awareness of the space industry, government, and international partner perspective on the current threat level. Space ISAC confirmed its new recommendation, June 6.

This decision is informed by input from Space ISAC’s diverse members and partners—including those from commercial, international, defense, intelligence community, and collective intelligence sectors—and analysts have identified several factors contributing to the heightened threat environment within space and related sectors. These include, consistent targeting, which is where cyber threat actors continue to target owners, operators, manufacturers, and distributors of space system technology.

In terms of other factors, Space ISAC highlighted Nation State actors where State-sponsored actors have demonstrated sophisticated cyber and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, including radio frequency (RF) jamming to disrupt, deny, and degrade space assets. Space ISAC also believes the proliferation of counterspace capabilities where adversary nations continue to bolster their military space and counterspace capabilities through recent satellite launches. Another factor is the evolution of the cyber threat landscape, where cyber threat actors continue to employ advanced techniques focused on persistence and defense evasion, while continuously forming new threat groupings.

Two final factors behind this high level of threat to the industry include the exploitation of critical vulnerabilities where threat groups continue to leverage zero-day vulnerabilities in commonly used software and open-source repositories to gain initial access to victim networks. Finally, Space ISAC highlighted the impact of Space weather, where current and ongoing solar weather patterns have impacted both terrestrial and space infrastructure, affecting communications services and multiple critical infrastructure sectors.

All these factors mean the level of threat for the satellite industry remains at a very high level.