Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies have compactly targeted US-based private space companies.
The country under the leadership of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping seeks to steal critical technology and prepares for cyber attacks aimed at degrading US satellite capabilities during conflicts or emergencies.
At least that’s what the latest warning document from the US Intelligence Agency says.
The National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the FBI and the Air Force issued new advisories to US companies.
The warning, which was broadly aimed at industry, said foreign intelligence agencies could target aerospace companies, employees and contractors servicing those companies.
To quote NewYork Timesdata and intellectual property of space companies are also at risk of being targeted for entry into computer networks placed inside the company and foreign infiltration.
“Foreign intelligence entities recognize the importance of the commercial space industry to the US economy and national security, including the increasing reliance of critical infrastructure on space-based assets,” the Counterintelligence Center warned.
“They see US space-related innovation and assets as a potential threat as well as a valuable opportunity to acquire critical technology and expertise,” the warning added.
Meanwhile the US builds and launches multi-million dollar reconnaissance and communications satellites. Where much of America’s innovation in space is carried out by commercial companies, including those that carry out launches and others that build and install satellites.
Intelligence agencies are increasingly relying on the private sector space industry, and US officials are concerned about the threat posed by Chinese and Russian spy services to those companies, based on FBI investigations and gatherings on foreign intelligence plans.
US officials believe innovation by SpaceX, Blue Origin and other private companies has given the United States a huge advantage in space, which foreign adversaries envy.
Security measures are in place and vary widely from company to company, and some US officials believe the space industry needs to tighten safeguards against attempts by Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies to infiltrate them.
Threats like this have been around for a long time. In 2017, the Department of Justice indicted Chinese, Russian and Iranian nationals in various schemes to steal space-related technology.
Last October, five Russian nationals were accused in an indictment of trying to illegally acquire semiconductors and microprocessors used in satellites, missiles and other space-based military applications illegally from American companies.
In 2019, a Chinese national was sentenced to federal prison for attempting to obtain radiation-hardened power amplifiers for use in aerospace applications.
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