China Could Unleash A Cyber-Pearl Harbor On America

( Cybersecurity expert Matt Erickson writes at that the best way to prevent China from pulling off the cyber equivalent of Japan’s preemptive attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States has to find a new approach to satellite cybersecurity.

Erickson notes that though both Russia and China pose a cybersecurity threat to the United States, it is China that has spent decades seeking to keep up with the United States and other advanced countries. Sure, China may still be a bit behind the US, Taiwan, and Japan when it comes to supercomputers, semiconductors, and avionics, but it is not behind by much.

Erickson notes that most military planners agree that a Chinese attack against the United States would begin with an early strike on US satellite systems as a way to try to blind US forces. But the Chinese wouldn’t need to destroy the satellites through weaponry, Erickson explains, since they could easily destroy satellite capability through cyberattacks.

According to Erickson, last May the US Space Force and Air Force held a competition called “Hack-a-Sat” which revealed just how easy it is for someone to communicate with a satellite in orbit.

Erickson writes that the US has to use a “fresh approach to space cybersecurity” to defend against possible cyberattacks from Beijing. He said treating space the same as “the terrestrial internet” isn’t the way to go. Instead, Erickson said security systems must be designed to reflect “the distributed nature of all the individual systems in the satellite ecosystem.”

He said this can be done by having the government work with the business sector to make sure every piece of software in the satellite ecosystem “is designed with its own security systems and permissions.”

Erickson explains that this kind of approach goes beyond the current concept of “zero trust” software that he describes as “an after-the-fact fix rather than a fundamental change to software design.”

The goal, Erickson writes, is to create a “true zero-trust architecture” for US satellites and other critical national security systems. In creating this, he adds, the United States can prevent China from being able “to mount a cyber Pearl Harbor” at the very start of a conflict.

Read Matt Erickson’s article HERE.