Outside groups from around the world are constantly targeting the satellite networks of the U.S. Air Force, accounting for millions of probes every year, said the agency’s top cyber official.
“Those probes come from everything, from nation states down to individuals just curious, down to criminal behavior,” General John Hyten, Head of Air Force Space Command, told the Defense Writers Group Tuesday morning.
The scale of cyber threats the organization faces has led the Air Force to turn to the next generation of satellites and invest in improved efficiency, while ensuring these devices are more resilient, and have stronger defensive capabilities built into them, added Hyten.
“As we look at our response options we are going to ensure we have real time command and control capabilities in our command and control centers,” the general said.
As the Air Force prepares to better defend, and boost space assets, the centers are expected to expand with additional funding requested for the 2016 fiscal year.
Although Hyten described the agency’s space programs seven or eight years ago as “fundamentally broken” with a “very weak” organization in regards to the understanding of the threats posed from cyber space, he highlighted the immense progress the space programs have made.
“Now, as we look at the threats we have to pursue, all – up to the president of the United States – have recognized we have to put money into that capability,” said the general.
Hyten stated the administration has announced an additional $5 billion will be allocated to the agency’s response to the rapidly evolving threats the agency continues to combat.
“If you think you’re safe in cyber, then when you wake up tomorrow everything is different; cyber changes that fast.”
“You can never feel comfortable in cyber because the threat tomorrow is going to be fundamentally different than the threat today and it’s unbelievable how fast it changes,” added Hyten.