Ben's Book of the Month Review of: "Cybersecurity for Space: Protecting the Final Frontier"

Posted on by Ben Rothke

Anyone who works in information security knows of constraints. Sometimes they are financial, that there are not adequate budgets to buy needed hardware and software. Sometimes it is physical, that there’s no room in a data center to house that equipment. And a recurring constraint is not having a large enough staff to support the information security need. And there are many more. 


In Cybersecurity for Space: Protecting the Final Frontier (Apress Books), author Jacob G. Oakley deals with a constraint that most of us will never have to—information security for space vehicles.


As Oakley writes in this unique and interesting book, there are myriad exceptional challenges that information security around space systems and launch vehicles have. He also writes this in part as a wake-up call to the space industry that may not be doing enough to secure space systems from emerging information security threats. 


While most of us will not be working in the space sector, it does form a large and essential part of our lives. And that underscores the point that information security is critical in the space sector. When thinking about critical infrastructure sectors, people will focus on telecommunication, energy, banking, healthcare, transportation and the like. But in 2020, space systems are also part of that critical infrastructure.


The reality is that much of the critical infrastructure is dependent on the space-infrastructure for their operations. A report from the cybersecurity firm London Cyber Security notes that the vast majority of space systems are responsible for some form of communications—commercial, government or military. As the space community has a larger presence in the commercial, academic and government sectors, space security is readily apparent. 


While most of us will never have to design or secure systems that deal with solar flares, electromagnetic disturbances, patching something a billion miles away and more, there is a lot to be learned here. Oakley details the needs for effective design and testing, and building systems to ensure they are secure against specific targeted attacks. 


While corporate networks are quite different from space vehicles, there is still much to be considered in this book. In Cybersecurity for Space: Protecting the Final Frontier, that final frontier is here and now, and under active attack. Let’s hope that the people at NASA and Boeing have this book on their reading lists.

Ben Rothke

Senior Information Security Manager, Tapad

Hackers & Threats

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