As we head towards the road of progress, there are many things that are advancing at speeds that are even hard to imagine. Technologies that people had no clue about in the last decade are on the verge of big explosions by the end of this year. And while everything moves towards a more digital world, more and more technological innovations keep popping up.
The Far Fetched Satellites
Apart from several other advancements made in this technologically developed world, we have gone ahead and put our satellites in orbits. This is serving us a variety of purposes including the study of weather patterns, atmospheric predictions, GPS among others.
The concept of an artificial satellite emerges from the idea of the universe where a majority of planets are surrounded by heavenly entities composed of matter, called satellites. And just like the way our moon revolves around our planet, artificial satellites as well do the same task. They revolve around the Earth only to help us quench our scientific thirsts by providing vital information for which they are programmed.
For every artificial satellite to function properly, it is a must to have a program inbuilt in it, which encompasses a clear set of instructions. This program forms the basis of the functioning of the satellite along with its hardware.
If you’ve known the nature of software you’ll understand well that it is prone to a lot of malfunctioning. And because satellites are at all times connected to a large network over the Internet, it would mean a direct exchange of millions and billions of data packets. This not just makes satellites more prone to threats but also risks the institution of networks in between.
With time, we are putting more and more satellites into space and there are many reasons behind it. Be it increasing the connectivity of the Internet around the world or monitoring different parameters of the weather, satellites serve more than a few purposes in the modern world. Apart from bringing the Internet to the most remote parts of the world, the companies working on satellites also want to add to a more detailed navigation system for us humans.
Talking of companies and organizations that are manufacturing satellites, you must not have gone without hearing the name of SpaceX. While some organizations predominantly dominate the satellite world, there are others that are expanding their horizons there. SpaceX currently has more than 200 satellites orbiting the Earth, expanding which they are planning to launch as many as 42,000 by the next decade.
Similarly, other tech titans like Amazon, UK based OneWeb, as well as other companies, are doing all in their power to establish their dominance in the space. In the time to come, we’re surely all set to see a sudden rise in the number of commercial satellites around the world. But, when that happens there will be other issues cropping up with it.
The satellites we depend on
We depend on GPS signals for some, things, including route, communication, banking, farming, travel and the web itself. It’s assessed that 6-7% of GDP in the western nations relies upon satellite route.
Communications satellites are applied for direct communication TV yet in addition to empowering numerous earthbound systems. In remote territories of the world, they might be the main methods for correspondence.
In the near future, interchanges satellites could give the entire world broadband web.
Satellites assist us with getting climate estimates and improve farming creation. They additionally help us to design debacle alleviation, find and mine characteristic assets, screen the wellbeing of nature and numerous different applications.
The Question of Cybersecurity
Regardless of the fact that satellites have got enough fanfare from the world, there are more critical real-world issues, that need to be addressed. A serious issue that needs the urgent attention of global leaders in the cybersecurity of satellites. And while nothing big has come up yet, there’s no reason we must not remain prepared for the future.
Right now there is a serious lack of standardization when it comes to cybersecurity at the global level. If you add the satellite’s complicated supply chain and the multiple layers of stakeholders on top of it, it makes the very nature of satellites even more susceptible to cyberattacks.
We can’t even imagine the devastation that it would cause the world if hackers today took control of the satellite. Not only will it turn ugly for the organization but for countries altogether. The simplest thing in such a case would be that hackers shut down the satellite and deny access to their services.
Let’s take what other things can happen to satellite under an attack. Cyber attackers can also spoof the signals from the system and create big havoc for the entire infrastructure. And the main areas to get hit as a result of this would be transportation, water grids, and electrical networks.
Commercial Satellite organizations have also started adding thrusters in a satellite, that help changes its speed, according to the need. Now, if hackers got access to these, not only they could play with it but also increase its speed to crash into other satellites and create a havoc in Earth’s orbit. The problem is that today’s satellites use many low-cost parts that are not standardized, which means a hacker could get access to these. More to this, the technology used is mainly open source, leaving a lot of opportunities for cyber attackers to create ways and find loopholes in the software of satellites.
There are more than a few areas of technology in a satellite where hackers can penetrate the system and find vulnerabilities. Also, because of organizations outsourcing the maintenance of various parts and software once the satellite reaches in space, there is an urgent need to be more careful. Historical attacks on satellites have been only a hint to the extended damage that can be caused. Therefore, sooner standardizes regulations are made, safer the future will be.
Author Bio – This article is written by Ethan Millar – He has 10+ years of experience in software development. He works as a software developer at python software development company – Aegis Softtech and gives training to students and professionals.