Feeds

US military satellite to get attack-warning equipment

Guarding against mysterious inopportune accidents

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A US military satellite is to be fitted with equipment which will enable it to detect hostile action and inform ground controllers what's going on, according to reports.

US military graphic showing catalogued objects in Earth orbit

In space, nobody can hear your victim scream ... yet

Lieutenant General Ellen Pawlikowski of the US Air Force told reporters including those of Aviation Week on Wednesday that a classified satellite is now planned to go into space equipped with a Self-Awareness Space Situational Awareness (SASSA) package, kit which the Pentagon has been working on for some time.

The US military and intelligence agencies operate a mighty fleet of spacecraft, with missions ranging from navigation and timing like the well-known GPS constellation – which makes almost all satnavs and a surprising amount of other Earthbound civilian electronics work, as well as guiding missiles etc – to blacker-than-black top secret spying and surveillance.

Most of these satellites, while in touch with ground control stations some or all of the time, have no sensors which would let them know if they were being meddled with or attacked – and this is a real possibility as more nations acquire space capabilities or groundbased gear such as jammers or lasers which can reach into space. As things stand, a satellite could simply go offline for a while or permanently, and its controllers would never know what happened to it.

That's where SASSA and various other US military space hardware comes in. SASSA itself would let a satellite know if it was being jammed, blinded or scrambled: other, dedicated spacecraft would be able to watch events in Earth orbit and perhaps detect or monitor sneaky anti-satellite operations involving actual intercepts and collisions.

It would seem the idea is not so much to mount any particular defence or retaliation against hostile anti-satellite efforts, but rather to establish clearly who is behind them. As action against another nation's spacecraft is a massive no-no under international convention, it is usually only worth doing if one can be sure that nobody will be sure who did it (or even sure that any action took place, perhaps).

SASSA and such efforts would seem to mean that attacks on US satellites will soon be much less deniable: which is, perhaps, why we are being told about them in advance. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.