The Direct-to-Device Industry Must Address Cybersecurity Challenges To Grow

On 7 September 2022, Apple debuted the iPhone 14 series and announced emergency satellite connectivity. Since the announcement, the feature has saved many lives. This feature has sparked the launch of the direct-to-device (D2D) industry. Rainbow highlights that this industry will be revolutionary as numerous commercial entities vie for the dominance in the space segment of the D2D architecture. There are numerous incumbents in this segment with more traditional large communications satellites such as Iridium, but numerous commercial startups such as Lynk are advocating for pLEO solutions for this market segment.

The success of this market however will not be predicated on launching multiple satellites. There are a number of cybersecurity concerns that must be addressed in the ground and link segments. One of the most major issues for the ground segment is dealing with the growth in the number of OEMs. The release of Qualcomm’s chip which will deliver satellite connectivity to Android phones. The OEMs will need to define common standards even though they operate in different regions with different rules. Similarly on the link segment, the network operators, such as AT&T, Vodafone, etc. must also agree upon the common standards to connect with the satellite networks.

These standards are about enforcing commonality to foster trust. Consider the example where a traveler takes their device from the United States to Europe. They must be able to use their device with its set of assurance and cybersecurity standards in a different country with different OEMs and network operators.

The last attack surface to secure will be that of a user. Software and OS developers must ensure that users of varying levels of technical knowledge must be capable of operating their devices securely. Identifying the common solutions and standards needed in the ground/link segment along with securing user end points will be critical enablers for the D2D Industry.