Chinese and Russian spies are looking to steal sensitive technology and data from US space companies including SpaceX and Blue Origin, according to a federal government communique.
The National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the FBI and the Air Force published an advisory on Friday warning that “foreign intelligence entities recognize the importance of the commercial space industry to the US economy and national security, including the growing dependence of critical infrastructure on space-based assets.”
“They see US space-related innovation and assets as potential threats as well as valuable opportunities to acquire vital technologies and expertise,” according to the advisory, the existence of which was first reported by the New York Times.
Intelligence agencies are concerned over Chinese and Russian spy agencies’ increased interest in US commercial space companies, according to the Times.
That is why the federal government wants companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin to tighten their security protocols — particularly in light of the fact that the US has come to depend on space firms for its technological infrastructure.
The agencies warned that US adversaries “use cyberattacks, strategic investment (including joint ventures and acquisitions), the targeting of key supply chain nodes, and other techniques to gain access to the US space industry.”
American space firms are asked to be on the lookout for “indicators” that they are being “targeted,” including “unusually high cyberactivity targeting your company from unknown parties,” “requests to visit your company facilities from unknown or foreign entities,” “unsolicited offers to establish joint ventures with companies tied to foreign governments or state-owned enterprises,” and “attempts to recruit your company’s technical experts … and provision of financial incentives in exchange for proprietary information.”
The Post has sought comment from the governments of Russia and China as well as from SpaceX and Blue Origin.
US relations with both China and Russia have deteriorated in recent years.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s military buildup in the South China Sea as well as threats to Taiwan have soured ties with Washington.
President Biden signed an executive order earlier this month prohibiting certain US investments in sensitive Chinese technology — a move designed to shore up national security concerns amid growing tensions between the superpowers.
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