Satellite internet is convenient but at risk of hacking interceptions

Several space cooperations and state agencies continue to deploy mega-constellations of broadband satellites to establish robust connectivity for the Earth’s ultra-high-speed internet connection. Many satellite internet providers say that it is unusual for anyone to state that web access never satisfies customers’ speed and reliability needs. For over 20 years, commercial satellite web access providers continue to develop technologies that offer the world fast and reliable internet access. 

Providing ultra-high-speed internet connectivity offered by satellites in the Earth’s orbit is becoming a more popular idea. More than 2 million customers in the United States purchase satellite internet, and giant companies such as Amazon and SpaceX continue to invest billions in owning part of the ever-growing market. Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink program continues to inaugurate additional low-orbit satellites for its web access provider network. Today, applications for satellite internet connections include communications for workers on secluded oil rigs, ships crossing international waterways, and airlines flying over areas with no cellular internet. 

However, the security of the satellite internet connections is under threat, as indicated in a recent experiment conducted by James Pavur, a researcher from Oxford University. He showcased the results from his investigation at the Black Hat 2020, where he attempted to convince people that the nature of the risks on satellite internet communications required a keen review. For several years, James successfully intercepted 18 satellite signals conveyed over the internet connections across an area of 100 square kilometers from a stationary location. 

During his experimental work, Pavur managed to eavesdrop several communications such as navigational data transmitted to a Chinese airliner using an unsecured internet connection channel. He also intercepted the messages transmitted by an Egyptian ship, helping him to decipher information regarding the oil tanker and took personal data about the crew onboard, and network reset credentials for yacht and many other numerous hacks.

Currently, satellite internet networks are intercepted because no technology permits parties to certify the security of any encrypted satellite internet connection. Pavur managed to block satellite internet connections using a video-transmission satellite bought off-the-shelf. He realized the orbital paths for the satellites, directing a satellite dish towards the tracks by utilizing publicly available resources. Pavur anticipates that his experimental results can shed some light on to the inadequate security measures for the various satellite internet traffics.

In conclusion, the real dilemma is whether humanity fully adopts the ultra-high-speed internet, even with its security loop-holes. These cybersecurity threats are a wakeup call for innovators to develop robust systems that offer stringent measures against hacking and hijackings.