A Cyber Attack-Centric View of Commercial Space Vehicles and the Steps Needed to Mitigate

November 2020
Topics: Cybersecurity, Computer Security, Information Security Architecture, Space Operations
Theresa Suloway Ph.D., The MITRE Corporation
Samuel Visner, The MITRE Corporation
Scott C. Kordella Ph.D., The MITRE Corporation
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This paper is provided to inform commercial satellite operators on the workflow of a cyber attacker against their unique ecosystems; it provides techniques and best practices to mitigate steps of an attack. The paper’s principal recommendation is the need for robust monitoring of: the ground network, the RF and optical apertures, spacecraft bus, and command and telemetry. The Space ISAC can help members share findings from monitoring activities and provide indications and or signatures of attackers on their systems to the community.

Other members of the ISAC can hunt for these signatures on their network to defend and mitigate attacks, thus increasing the security of all commercial space. Progress toward sharing signatures and other threat intel has progressed greatly as membership in the ISAC has increased. Further participation and sharing information among members will increase greatly cyber protection for commercial space.


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