On Friday, US counterintelligence agencies issued a warning to the country’s space industry cautioning it to be on the lookout for attempts by foreign intelligence organisations to steal trade secrets and research in an effort to advance their own countries’ space programmes.
According to a US counterintelligence official who spoke to Reuters, “We anticipate growing threats to this burgeoning sector of the US economy,” adding that “China and Russia are among the leading foreign intelligence threats to the US space industry.”
In a two-page bulletin, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Counterintelligence and Security Centre (NCSC), and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) claimed that unidentified foreign entities were using cyberattacks and other strategies to gain access to the US space industry, including strategic investment through joint ventures and acquisitions.
The initiative is part of Washington’s ongoing efforts to draw attention to a problem that has long frustrated counterintelligence authorities and has gained importance as the US space sector invests billions of dollars in the development of new rockets and other technology.
The letter cautioned businesses to be alert for requests for facilities visits and attempts to obtain sensitive information during conferences. Additionally, it warned that hiring practises involving promises of international travel or consulting work in exchange for payment for confidential information posed a risk to certain individuals.