Britain’s over-dependence on foreign satellites poses a serious threat that could “wreak havoc” on the country’s economy according to a soon-to-be published report.
Because around 90 percent of the information and communications networks the country’s firms rely on belong to and are controlled by foreign countries the economy is left extremely vulnerable.
That’s according to trade association UKspace which is due to publish a report next week showing that even a short-lived hostile data attack could have catastrophic economic effects, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday.
“Data from satellites has become so critical to our everyday lives that even a temporary disruption would cause an economic blackout of frightening proportions,” Nick Shave, chairman of UKspace reportedly said.
“Investing in our own national capabilities is essential for our future security, but also an opportunity to create new jobs in the UK, driving a stronger recovery across the country.”
Shave’s concerns over cyber vulnerability follow the announcement on Nov. 19 of a new National Cyber Force to enhance capability and “disrupt hostile state activities, terrorists, and criminals threatening the UK’s national security.”
‘Leading, Cutting-Edge Technology’
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also emphasised the creation of jobs as Britain announced an extra £24.1 billion ($31.8 billion) in a military spending plan that pivoted markedly toward “leading, cutting-edge technology.”
The emphasis on cybersecurity also follows a warning from one of Britain’s top defence chiefs of the need to understand “what malign actors are doing in space.”
Head of the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal, Sir Mike Wigston told the virtual Defence Space Conference 2020 last week that China’s and Russia’s anti-satellite weapons development threatens both Britain’s critical national security and its everyday life.
A government spokesperson meanwhile said in an emailed statement that Britain’s investment in cyber and satellites had already enhanced Britain’s standing in the space industry and provided thousands of jobs.
“We have transformed the space industry into a British heavyweight in the past decade—growing in size by 60 percent, employing 42,000 people and pumping £14 billion [$18.6 billion] each year into our economy,” he said.
He also said that going forward investment would continue to help the economy as well as enhance national security.
He added that Britain will launch capabilities “into orbit from UK spaceports and connect millions to broadband through our investment in OneWeb, the UK’s own global fleet of satellites.”