Washington: A joint bulletin by US intelligence agencies on Friday warned the US space industry of the risk of espionage and satellite attacks from China, Russia, and other rivals. The bulletin said that the adversaries could target the supply chains and technologies of the US space companies through satellite attacks or strategic investments.
The report, which was issued by the National Counter Intelligence and Security Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Air Force, said that the foreign intelligence operations could threaten the company secrets as well as the US satellite capabilities for communication, sensing, and imaging.
The alert comes after several recent incidents of satellite interference and a growing awareness that the US economy and national security rely heavily on space. The alert advised the US space companies to establish an insider threat program to detect spies and anomalies and to be cautious of foreign solicitations, conferences, and online outreach.
China and Russia have always denied any accusations of hacking or disrupting space systems. A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington said that China has always pursued the peaceful exploration of outer space and believes it should be used for the benefit of all mankind. The Russian embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
The report also mentioned that some of the major satellite companies with existing government ties have already been targeted. Viasat had to replace more than 45,000 modems across Europe and beyond after a cyber attack in 2022 before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Starlink, a part of SpaceX, has faced jamming attacks in its effort to provide service to Ukraine.