The Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center on Wednesday released a report identifying the potential threats that China and Russia’s presence in space has on civil and military space services. According to the report, adversaries could jam communications or engage in cyberattacks that would target space systems supporting critical infrastructure.

“Foreign competitors are capable of conducting electronic attacks to disrupt, deny, deceive, or degrade space services,” the report said. It states that both China and Russia consider offensive cyber capabilities as a way to maintain military advantage.

The report divides the cyber threats to U.S. space systems into four separate categories:

  • Space segment;
  • User segment;
  • Link segment; and
  • Ground segment.

Each category carries three or more potential threats. Space, Ground and User segments could all see malware as a threat to their systems while both Space and User segments could both see threats in the form of Denial of Service. User and Link segments share Spoofing as a cyber threat, and Space segment shares Command Intrusion with Link segment as a cyber threat. Separately, Space segment carries Payload Control as a cyber threat, Link segment faces Replay as a threat, and Ground segment faces Hijacking and Hacking as cyber threats.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.