Satellite communication systems are responsible for the transmission, production, and the relay of analogue as well as digital media. Satellite communication systems include the traditional analogue C-band systems, which operate at 6/4 GHz relying on 10-16 foot dishes. However, modern technology has given birth to the Ku-band systems, which uses 12/14 GHz network. The system is constantly under different types of threats as discussed in the following categories.
A satellite communication system consists of ground-based assets that include ground stations, network control centers, and data terminals, among others. The space-based assets include spacecraft, satellites, and the launching mechanisms, which combine to work as a single system. All these assets are important and usually expensive and useful in many ways making them vulnerable to attacks for various reasons.
Perpetrators in communication systems refer to humans who intentionally compromise communication systems. Human attacks could be in the form of physical destruction of assets and interceptors; for example, using missiles and other weapons of destructions like energy lasers. Cyber-attacks have also become a major concern in recent times since physical attack may be harder to orchestrate given the level of physical security. Perpetrators are capable of extensive damage such as destruction of assets, sabotage of information links, destruction of system software through viruses, as well as data interception.
Threats to satellite communication systems may be intentional or unintentional. Intentional threats include physical destruction and cyber-attacks. System assets are usually placed under surveillance both physical by use of guards and through cameras to detect any potential threat before damage is done. Unintentional threats, on the other hand, include natural occurrences, unfavorable space environment and unintentional human interference; for instance, wireless systems interfering with signals. These are usually hard to protect against since they are mostly unpredictable.
Despite many efforts to protect satellite systems, humans are not perfect, and some weaknesses might occur; for instance, loopholes in software, which the developer might not be aware of as well as backdoors, which may be catastrophic if discovered by the wrong people. In addition, assets in space may be vulnerable to many unknown forces since the space environment is very dynamic.
Satellite communication systems may be improved by advancements in technology making the system more stable, efficient, and secure. Complete debugging, as well as testing of software to prevent cyber-attacks and of hardware components to prevent malfunctions or various vulnerabilities, may also be applied to make the system stronger.