Cyber general: US satellite networks hit by 'millions' of hacks

The top cyber official for the Air Force says the service’s space and satellite networks are being constantly hacked by outside groups.

“There’s millions of probes every year into our networks, from every corner of the world,” Gen. John Hyten, the head of Air Force Space Command, said Tuesday during a Defense Writers Group breakfast, discussing the scale of the cyber threat.

“Those probes come from everything, from nation states down to individuals just curious, down to criminal behavior,” he added.

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Hyten -- whose command is the service branch component to U.S. Cyber Command -- said that five years ago his organization was “very weak” about understanding the threats posed from cyber space but has made progress since then.

“If you think you’re safe in cyber, then when you wake up tomorrow everything’s different; cyber changes that fast,” the four-star said. “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.”

Hyten noted that while “cost of entry” for space operations are still “fairly significant” to countries like China, the price tag on cyber operations is “nothing.” 

“You have everybody and its brother and sister coming into the cyber domain and it’s a very difficult challenge to protect yourself,” he told reporters.