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Cyber War Moves to Space

In a recent government survey of more than 100,000 people across the U.S., 40 percent reported no broadband or high-​​speed access to the Internet, while 30 percent said they have no Internet access at all. Satellite broadband delivery is seen to be a quick and economical solution to this problem.

While the satellite broadband market slowed in 2009 because of the poor economy, it still increased. The market continues to expand after U.S. regulators outlined the national broadband plan that allows satellite operators to use their radio spectrum for Internet traffic. That is why cyber security professionals are so concerned about the convergence of cyber space and space.

It's becoming increasingly evident that any future war between modern militaries would be both a space war and a cyber war, in fact, they would be one and the same. Russia, China, and the U.S. have all stated they don’t want a space war, but are all preparing for one if one occurs.

That sounds so familiar – oh, wait a minute, didn’t Russia, China and the U.S. say the same thing about cyber war? Yes, they did. Satellites in geostationary orbits provide broadband connectivity to businesses and customers. Those satellites and their computer control ground stations present a viable target for offensive cyber actions. A hacker could disrupt or interfere with satellite control communications and could disrupt the delivery of broadband services. In the absence of such command signals, a satellite would malfunction.

Worldwide attention focused on China’s successful anti-​​satellite missile test. While military officials question the scale and progress of the Chinese anti-​​satellite program, one has to wonder if China has already tested their anti-​​satellite cyber weapon. Military leaders are all too aware of the convergence of space and cyber space. An increasing percentage of military operations occur in cyber space and are integrated with and dependent on communication satellite systems in outer space.

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