Satellite Hacks Threaten Critical Infrastructure

When considering critical infrastructure, we tend to imagine electrical grids, water networks, and transportation infrastructure. In Job One for Space Force: Space Asset Cybersecurity, a report for the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center, Greg Falco (PHD '18) challenges us to include the underlying systems that enable functionality for those critical systems.

Job One for Space Force: Space Asset Cybersecurity demonstrates how the networks of satellites and space systems are dangerously vulnerable to cyberattack and create a back-door into the physical and digital systems we rely upon on a daily basis.

Speaking to concerns in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, Falco says, "as we continue to capitalize on exciting technological advancements, we need to understand more about the legacy infrastructure on which these new technologies rely."

Falco is a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory where he works on cyber/physical, embedded system cybersecurity with Dr. Howard Shrobe. His research focuses on urban critical infrastructure such as the electric grid, water networks and transportation systems that have been digitized as part of the emergent Smart City. He is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University where he teaches classes in Computer Science, Smart Cities/Sustainability, IoT and Big Data. Falco also works as a Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) where he researchers and teaches Cyber Risk. 

Falco's work at the edge of the blending of the digital and physical is an excellent example of the potential projects from the new interdisciplinary major in Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science. For more information about the major click here.

Image credit: Nasa, 2018