Spoofing the Space


As accurately stated by Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research at Gartner, Inc, (Link above) data is becoming the world’s most precious resource, and it is only relevant when mined and handled in such a way that it is essentially ‘Analyzed.’ Analytics is particularly crucial in this situation. Moving forward, satellite imaging firms anticipate development in data analytics. Private satellites in orbit helped governments and news organizations portray the narrative of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With the momentum generated by these activities, industry participants want to expand their company by selling not only photography but also analytics tools that extract trends and insights from raw data. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which announced a $29 million procurement of data analytics services over five years last year and intends to increase purchases as companies develop new products, is the primary customer for these services, according to David Gauthier, director of the NGA’s Commercial and Business Operations Group. Traditionally, the agency depended on its own analysts to derive insights from images. However, Gauthier stated on September 15 at the Intelligence & National Security Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, that the NGA has a rising hunger for new sorts of analytics services supplied by the private sector. Of interest are monitoring services performed by small satellites that make repeated image captures at set intervals. The frequent, automated collections — and the analysis done with artificial intelligence and machine learning software — help track change and identify trends.

According to Gauthier, the data gives insights into activities with national security and economic implications, such as illicit fishing, GPS interference, or the movement of methane gas.

With everything being digital and data, this brings different sets of cyber threats. Cyberattacks are not the same as conventional kinds of attacks. Whereas electronic attacks utilize physical tactics (such as jamming or spoofing) to disrupt radio frequency signal transmissions and create reversible harm, cyberattacks use digital operations to target data and access systems and cause lasting damage. Electronic warfare technologies can physically disrupt communication signals that go to and from satellites (upstream and downstream). The attacker might broadcast false signals (spoofing) and fool the system without the receiver’s awareness. In a cyberattack, however, an opponent would have complete access to satellites and data, allowing them to wreak irreparable harm. Spoofing information via cyber methods is a more advanced kind of jamming. In times of conflict, digital spoofing of the global positioning system (GPS), which involves digital interception and modification, allows the delivery of false information without the knowledge of either the transmitter or the receiver. This method might be used to confuse troops or even to control their deployment. To reduce threats, armed personnel should be able to evaluate information integrity and detect data spoofing and manipulation.