Lancaster event dedicated to Cyber Security in Space attracts international crowd

A stock image of a graphic displaying a shield icon on a secure global network

An academic from Lancaster University Management School recently hosted a pioneering event dedicated to cyber security in the commercial space sector.

In collaboration with Security Lancaster, Dr Sharon Lemac-Vincere brought together a crowd of around 50 representatives from the space and security sectors to discuss the wealth of opportunities opening up to businesses in the commercial space sector, as well as the national cyber security threats these opportunities could unassumingly bring.

Dr Lemac-Vincere said: “The commercial space sector is certainly one to watch. It is expanding rapidly - Government data shows it injected an extra £1billion into the UK economy in recent years, opening up a new world of opportunity for UK business and entrepreneurs.

“While the opportunity to grow and innovate is enormous, with almost every element of the space supply chain dominated by data there is also an enormous risk of businesses falling foul of cyber-attacks.

“While unpleasant for any business, a cyber-attack in this sector could potentially threaten national security, so the sector needs to come together now and think about this carefully, to avoid having to retrospectively address costly attacks. In my opinion, we are at a watershed moment as a nation; we are still small and agile enough to mandate cyber ‘secure by design’ protocols. This, I believe, could position the UK as the most secure space nation and provide a compelling proposition for international collaboration.”

The event was held last month at the new Digital Innovation and Security Hub (DISH) in Manchester and aimed to bring together key individuals involved in the European Space Industry, including Government representatives and lawyers specialising in the space sector, to discuss these issues and what a ‘gold standard’ cyber security solution might look like for industry, going forward.

Dr Lemac-Vincere said: “The event itself surpassed my expectations. We had participants travel from overseas to take part in these important discussions and there’s an appetite for more, with participants asking for more events on this very subject.

“Some key takeaways from the discussions were that both the space and cyber sectors need to focus on including different skills in addition to technical expertise. This links in with the points participants made about there being a language barrier between cyber professionals and space professionals – there is a need for a common language in the space-cyber sphere.”

The event was run in collaboration with Plexal, an innovation company solving society’s challenges through collaboration on technology with government, start-ups and industry, and was funded by a grant from Security Lancaster.

Professor Neeraj Suri, co-director of Security Lancaster at Lancaster University, said: “I am delighted to have an eminent Security Lancaster member provide leadership in this very timely endeavor of addressing cyber security challenges in the critical infrastructure of spaceborne systems. Security Lancaster is well positioned to help provide support for UK leadership in addressing the complex international socio, technical, policy and regulatory issues that underlie this critical technology sector.”

Dr Lemac-Vincere also represented Lancaster University at the recent Climb23 event, a business festival in Leeds. Here, she took part in a panel discussion on the next cyber security challenges and technologies that will disrupt the security industry, and hosted a round table discussion on ‘Why Space Technology Matters: The Crucial Role of Space Innovation in Solving Global Challenges’.

She also participated in another recent panel discussion on ‘Space: The Cyber Frontier’ at the North West Space Cluster first anniversary event alongside Antonia Yendell from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, and Alan Cross, North West Space Cluster Manager.

Back to News