The following is an excerpt from a talk by Digijaks CEO Alan W. Silberberg at the 2016 GEOINT Symposium.
When you think of Cyber Security, you probably think about your iPhone getting hacked, or your email, or your companies servers, or your credit card, or bank card or health care, or banking, or government information, plus so many others…
But did you ever stop to think about how a huge chunk of all the data populating all those things actually gets there? Not in the sense of how Google asks prospective employees to describe how the internet works. But close. Think Space.
Satellites are a massive growth industry, for both government and business alike. We have scaled globally from a situation 20 years ago where only a handful of countries could afford to mount in orbit operations on even one satellite.
Now there are literally thousands of satellites in space with more and more getting launched into either permanent or semi-permanent orbits — along with resulting real space junk and debris following closely along.
There is a correlation of increased launches with smaller launch packages, increasingly smaller and lighter satellite platforms and lower cost; with massive increased consumption and transport of data in both up and down link; and other bands.
All of this has led to a reset of the cyber security needs surrounding ground stations, launch facilities, terrestrial platforms, satellites, rockets, and of course the data. There are multiple types of data flowing into the typical modern communications satellite. Up-link, down-link controls and management software, then data payloads of voice, video, data, etc. and then often reversed in direction again. Add to this the security levels, the control levels and maintenance levels — and there is a digital river of information coming in and out of every satellite, ground station and in between.
This is one of the major targets for global cyber war efforts by governments as well as cartel hacker groups and other groups seeking only power and information to then bring money.
One of the key weak points is the people on the ground and their BYOD (bring your own device) methods and practices – whether sanctioned or not.
Along the same lines is the social engineering side of hacking and cyber war and how people’s pictures, social media posts, location tags, and other digital exhausts can be combined in a detailed matrix for an attacker to figure out organizational patterns, phrases, colloquialisms and other ways to use psychology against us.
Another key weak point is that many of the cyber security protocols designed for this global data transfer every millisecond is that they are simply outdated and not up to the task of modern efforts to hack and crack this technology and its safeguards and firewalls.
Another key weak point is the ex fil of the data whether through an overall hack, disabling the equipment, or worse — a hunter-killer satellite.
Follow my remarks in a few more weeks to hear more on the very real risks being posed by the explosion in satellites and data flowing between Earth and Space. Indeed, Global Cyber Security is on Earth and space.
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