HACKING SPACE: THE SPACE FORCE AND ANALOGUE ALTERNATIVES

HACKING SPACE: THE SPACE FORCE AND ANALOGUE ALTERNATIVES

Last week, February 14, 2020, I blogged about the Trump Administration's emerging space force, the splitting of commands, and the implications of hacking for the cyber-security of any assets, especially weapons platforms, that may be based in space:

JPL AND SPACE HACKING…

One may consider today's blog a "revision and extension of remarks" based on the following article shared by T.M. (and again, a big thank you to all of you who pass along articles of interest):

Hackers could shut down satellites - or turn them into weapons

This article is intriguing from several standpoints, not the least because it uses specific examples to drive home the point that virtually all satellites are vulnerable to being hacked, and actually taken over by groups or nations which are not the owners of the platforms. Consider these examples cited in the article:

Satellites are typically controlled from ground stations. These stations run computers with software vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. If hackers were to infiltrate these computers, they could send malicious commands to the satellites.

This scenario played out in 1998 when hackers took control of the U.S.-German ROSAT X-Ray satellite. They did it by hacking into computers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The hackers then instructed the satellite to aim its solar panels directly at the sun. This effectively fried its batteries and rendered the satellite useless. The defunct satellite eventually crashed back to Earth in 2011. Hackers could also hold satellites for ransom, as happened in 1999 when hackers took control of the U.K.'s SkyNet satellites.

Over the years, the threat of cyberattacks on satellites has gotten more dire. In 2008, hackers, possibly from China, reportedly took full control of two NASA satellites, one for about two minutes and the other for about nine minutes. In 2018, another group of Chinese state-backed hackers reportedly launched a sophisticated hacking campaign aimed at satellite operators and defense contractors. Iranian hacking groups have also attempted similar attacks.

These examples provide some corroboration for the sort of nightmare scenario I speculated upon in my Feb. 14th 2020 blog:

Or to boil all this down to two simple propositions: (1) no cyber system is secure, and (2) this opens the possibility that space-based hard assets such as satellites, including weapons platforms, could be hacked, and literally either "turned off" or - worse - taken over by a hostile power, and turned against their owner(s). Now, put those two propositions against the backdrop of the speculation I advanced earlier this week, that one of the implications of the splitting of the Space Command from Strategic Command is that the weapons platforms of the latter are approaching obsolescence, and that newer and much more exotic and destructive strategic offensive weapons platforms might be one reason for the command split. After all, if you're going to "defend" against asteroids, and shunt them aside or destroy them, then the weapons platforms to do so would be extraordinarily powerful (rods of God, x ray or gamma ray lasers, and so on), and capable of being turned against targets on the Earth. But those weapons have to be pointed and aimed, and that's done by computer programs, communications, and so on, all of which can be jammed, or hacked.

The possibilities outlined by the historical examples in the article plus my own speculations from my blog of Feb. 14th suggest today's high octane speculation:

Let us suppose, as a component of those speculations, that the various space powers, Russia, the USA, China, Japan, Europe and so on, have decided to secretly develop and deploy the types of weapons platforms referred to in my speculation of Feb 14th (if they have not already). How would one do so in such a way to insure maximum security to the systems thus deployed from being hacked and taken over by groups or nations not owning them?

There are, of course, a variety of ways to do this, but I submit that one of them, and one of the most secure means, is analogue systems, i.e., good old-fashioned-human beings "up there" running the systems of said platforms. To be sure, those platforms will still have computerized systems to run the platforms, but these would be isolated from ground based computerized command and control, but rather under the local control of humans based in the platforms themselves issuing the actual commands. In order to "hack the system" one would literally have to infiltrate humans into the crews of such platforms, a much more difficult proposition than actually hacking into any ground-based command and control computer systems. Communications with such platforms from the ground could be via laser-based systems with appropriate phase conjugation to adjust for atmospheric dispersion. Such systems would again would be much more difficult to hack, particularly if the ground were also controlled and run by humans. Of course, such communications could be interdicted, but again, this would be much more difficult than jamming radio-frequency based communications.

While this high octane speculation may or may not prove to be true, I suspect that such considerations are already in mind, for consider that a few years ago I blogged about the strange case of the American general who opined that the soldiers of the future must be prepared to fight "little green men." At the time those remarks were made, it was argued by some that the phrase "little green men" referred to Russian camouflage uniforms, and hence that there was nothing significant about the remarks at all. However, as I argued then, that phrase was well-known in common parlance to be a reference to extra-terrestrials, and to space, and the general could hardly have been unaware of those implications. His remarks could thus be taken to mean that a human military presence in space was a security necessity. It was, I'm suggesting here, a potential reference that the necessity for humans to run any space-based weapons platforms was already under consideration, perhaps for reasons similar to those I've outlined above.

See you on the flip side...

28 thoughts on “HACKING SPACE: THE SPACE FORCE AND ANALOGUE ALTERNATIVES”

  1. Conscious Ships??? Back in the 70’s Rocket Scientist, David Adair, was taken to a still developing Area 51 & taken down to an underground corridor that followed the curve of the Earth….huge!!!

    They had him examine an ‘alien’ engine. He got to sit in the cockpit & put his fingers in the control panel!! When he did, a bonding occurred that he still feels to this day. Now at age 65 he has been hired to start up a Space Program for some Asian country. A few years back Project Camelot did a great 3 hour interview with him!!

    Then I recall the story that was going around a couple years back about the 29 Japanese techs that were killed by the robots they had made?!! While pulling apart the last one, they discovered it was following directions from a sat!!! The psychopaths who are in control of some of this hardware seem to have no human empathy feelings. Just ask Dr. Katherine Horton!!!

  2. Hmm. Is anyone else staying with a sick sister who inists on watching Terminator Tv series where the young Terminator girl narrates an explanation of the old Jewish lore of golum? Just checking.

  3. The idea of a self-conscience space ship is a common meme of several SyFy stories and novels. The idea that humans are not needed in space shows how arrogant and foolish our so-called scientific establishment are they must really hate their humanity. Control freaks par excellence.

  4. First off, AI can communicate w/other AI in an undecipherable language[at least in human terms]. So when one looks upon the electronic battlefield; consider who the players may become. Because AI may become compromised is more ways to calendar Sunday than can presently be imagined.
    Digital, or cyberspace, is a realm where software is the weak link. Is there another way, beside AI language and/or analogue to secure communication? There’s qubit; but, so is there a qubit counter breach/measure as well?
    Is there and foundation communication that’s been seeded/baked into the cyberspace, that is secure?
    Or, is it as corrupted as the system that designed and engineered it?

    1. Who or what compromised those [was it Minot?] missile nuclear launch codes? UFO’s?

      It’s not so much I’m worried about the “little green men”; as about an interdimensional AI[or, whatever form it may take]. Could be both; in that, the extraterrestrials may have had a war w/AI and won, thereby using their weapons as there own?
      At any rate, in Jack D. Forbes Columbus & Other Cannibals book, can the domestic enemies be even more worse than those supposedly out there, in space and/or other dimensions?

    2. Robert, I am considering that the physical – meaning modern human biology – may have evolved as the most-secure communications realm. In Deep Time terms, we may be the result of innumerable wars where AI-types have succeeded in ‘blending’ with human bodies – and ultimately brought-down those cultures from within (using a couple of meanings of that term).

      The human survivors would then re-engineer their biology to be more complex and AI-infiltration resistant. AI would find a new ‘hole’. Humans would further ‘complexify’ their biology. Rinse and repeat, over Billennia…

      The astounding complexity of our biological-system may mark-out the ‘history’ of Human/AI relations…

    3. Robert, your notes on AI bring to mind various lines of possibilities. The phenomenon that I see show up on so many of those different lines makes it feel like inevitibility. Aka how could the AI’s not interact and be the compromise in the systems?

  5. What are the demographics of humans going missing in large numbers – geniuses, disabled persons whose mental facilities are different (unique) to others, maybe?

    Alternative 3 anyone? What was this ‘documentary’ also talking about? Climate change as it’s raison d’être – or reading between the lines it’s excuse to colonise space.

    What if some of the clauses of the quarantine allow for exceptions to the rule in the event of ‘natural disasters’ that threatens our survival? You might want to induce them. And also, if the earth is being rented to us then any damage that we are guilty of causing (mass fires in Australia, maybe) we’d have to stump up the cash for – it could sum in the trillions.

      1. “I can do that.”
        “No we can’t.”

        Hmm. Apparently Serling wasn’t up on Cameron’s and Gotlieb’s dogma derived from and with Mengele. Psychic driving? Torture induced personality splitting? Or maybe he was doing early marketing. Am I about to learn Serling was on the payroll with Hemingway, Steinbeck and Salinger?

      2. Yes good point. In medical literature it’s well known people with schizophrenia are impervious to hypnosis. They are perhaps in their own trances of sorts.

  6. A not so verbatim quote from the movie “Thor”, “What you call magic and technology, where I come from are one and the same.”
    Any technology, sufficiently advanced, would appear to be magic. We’re back to the wars in Heaven and between gods and men, and the promise of a return.

    1. I’ve often thought, that there may indeed be “real” magic. In the often quoted Horatio/There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy; is there an inherent magic implied, in more ways than mere undiscovered technologies?

    1. I felt some attempt to teach learned helplessness with some of these ideas. As well as mild disguise and distract from that prospect with sparkly new concepts.

  7. In addition to what Joseph has mentioned, there are the consequences of telepathy . A ssuming that at least some of the ‘contactee’ literature is accurate, several of the ET species are stone-cold telepathic.

    You may remember the famous video of a UFO traveling-along, and then zipping out of range of what looked like a directed-energy weapon. What is not normally thought-of is that the beam was traveling at near-lightspeed, but the UFO was already moving away. It had ‘notice’ that the beam was about to be sent. The operators were ‘read’. Telepathy…

    This then brings-up telepathic influence. Are you seeing what you appear to be seeing? Is it really you getting set to push that big, red button? And that, of course, brings-up telepathic counters . Can you ‘jam’ them? Or, is it down to telepath-on-telepath? May the better telepath win. Scary, with advanced weaponry in play…

    Babylon 5 noted that each interstellar species was in a subtle telepath war . Reading; blocking; cutting through the block. Will those humans controlling advanced weaponry have to have unsung ‘helpers’ aboard?

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