Satellites rose into the sky – POLITICO


With the help of Derek Robertson and Eric Geller

Elon Musk is not known for his modesty. But ever since his rocket-to-satellite company SpaceX began providing Ukraine with high-speed Internet access in February—all via table-sized satellites in what’s called low Earth orbit—the South African-born tech mogul finally got his hands on it in February. something legal. crow.

As Christopher Miller, Brian Bender and I described in our story about how SpaceX’s Starlink satellites have become a lifeline for both the Ukrainian military and its civilian population, technology has done what few thought possible. This thwarted Russia’s attempts to cut off its western neighbor from the outside world.

Reliable Internet access—enough for Ukrainian soldiers to play Call of Duty on their smartphones—helped stream images of the war, mostly via social media, directly to smartphones around the world.

The success, including repelling Russian cyberattacks by SpaceX coders, has drawn attention to the fast-growing low-Earth satellite industry and the demand for them. Unlike traditional equipment that orbits thousands of miles above the ground, these next-generation devices are quite cheap (at least when it comes to space equipment), are easily upgraded, and offer services such as fiber optic internet and the latest encryption technologies that enjoy the military and private companies sharpen their lips in anticipation.

And SpaceX Mask isn’t the only game in town. Amazon in April announced plans launch more than 3,000 of these mini-satellites into space, some of which, unsurprisingly, are linked to Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket company. OneWeb, a British competitor partially owned by the UK government after bankruptcy, restarted efforts to create their own network. Startups in the (Western) US are also taking part.

“It will be the Wild West for a while and there will be consolidation,” said Todd E. Humphreys, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in satellite technology and has been tracking the development of Starlink, including its recent foray. in Ukraine. “Eventually, low Earth orbit will be divided into three, four, maybe five big players.”

Not all of these companies will be successful. But stronger-than-expected numbers from Starlink in Eastern Europe signal the start of a new space race. And don’t expect Musk to keep quiet about it.

In today’s Morning Cybersecurity newsletter, POLITICS Eric Geller spoke to Adam HickeyDeputy Assistant Attorney General for Homeland Security, this week South Africa Conference about the extent to which the US may or may not regulate its exit from cryptographically based ransomware attacks.

“There is still a lot to be done,” Hickey said. “Part of that pressure must be diplomatic or political, because many of these actors operate from territories where we cannot reach them directly.”

Read: Moscow.

Eric writes that Hickey “pointed to recent interview with a lawyer represents one of the alleged hackers of the REvil ransomware arrested by Russia in a surprise operation in January. The lawyer told a Russian news outlet that the government should release his client so he can help fight back against Ukrainian hackers “and that, according to Hickey, “such cooperation between Russian cybercriminals and the Kremlin used to be more covert.”

Cryptocurrency can become a new and powerful tool for hackers and criminals to escape the traditional financial system. But when it comes to evading international sanctions and prosecution, said hackers are still protected by the good old borders, not the blockchain. – Derek Robertson

The concept of the metaverse is still somewhat hazy, depending on who you ask. But the origin of the term itself is very clear, was invented science fiction writer Neil Stevenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash.

Now Stevenson himself is moving towards bringing this to life: the author and Peter Wessencryptocurrency pioneer, launched a project called Lamina1, designed to serve as the fundamental blockchain for the true metaverse.

Wessenes described the project in Middle post as “the base layer for the Open Metaverse: a place to build something closer to the Nile vision – one that empowers creators, technical and artistic, one that provides support, spatial computing technology, and a community to support those who build the Metaverse” .

This all sounds like pretty standard promotional material, except for one nasty remark: Stephenson’s original vision for the metaverse was stark. dystopia, a vaguely sinister corporate digital escape from a shattered analog world. People who choose to use it constantly, never interrupted to return to the latest, are called “gargoyles”. Suffice it to say that this is not the vision that Stephenson and Wessen have in mind for this project, but it is a useful context as we crawl towards a future where even more will always be online. – Derek Robertson

Stay in touch with the entire team: Ben Schrekinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson[email protected]); Konstantin Kakaes (ur.[email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on Twitter @DigitalFuture.

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DISCLAIMER: This fact sheet has been updated to reflect that Blue Origin is one of three companies that will take Amazon’s low-orbit programs into space.