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The main threat to humanity from Starlink and OneWeb satellites

In just four launches, the private space company SpaceX became the operator of the largest satellite constellation in Earth orbit, and there are plans to increase the number of vehicles by 175 times. This fact makes us wonder what man-made “constellations” are in the near future for mankind. Oddly enough, the primary problem is not a potential nearby space littering, but vulnerability to cybercriminals.

The main goal of projects such as Starlink (SpaceX, USA), OneWeb (United Kingdom), Kuiper (Amazon, USA) is to provide broadband Internet access around the globe. Each orbital constellation will differ in composition and some characteristics of data transmission systems, however, they are all fundamentally similar. These are relatively inexpensive (the order of prices is hundreds of thousands of dollars excluding launch) and small (weighing 100-300 kilograms) spacecraft (SC) operating, in contrast to existing satellite communications systems, in a low circular orbit (200-1200 kilometers) or orbits.

The low cost of each individual spacecraft (and, accordingly, of the entire project as a whole) is determined by the use of industrial components, which are mass-produced, as well as by conveyor assembly of satellites. Moreover, each of these products has its own propulsion system (for changing the orbit and orientation), a solar panel and a unit of several transceivers. Starlink satellites, for example, will completely communicate with each other via a laser beam, but so far the first phase of orbiters (240 pieces) is dispensed with.

In an ideal situation, everything looks great: you buy a budget terminal for yourself (the expected cost is up to a thousand dollars) and you can watch YouTube, read Wikipedia and download torrents absolutely everywhere (of course, only with Linux distributions). However, the devil was hidden in the details – because we do not live in an ideal world. And this was recently told by Phys.org, or rather, one of the authors of the subsidiary project The Conversation. This portal is intended for scientists, university professors and students so that they can express opinions, analyze and post their articles. Each material must be checked by professional journalists and more experienced members of the community.

Having collected a huge amount of information available in open sources, William Akoto came to the conclusion that the main threat to people and organizations using the services of such satellite communication providers are hackers. If Starlink, OneWeb and other projects have achieved at least most of the claimed characteristics, their audience will grow like an avalanche. Such Internet can be very profitable and convenient in the open sea, remote regions, as well as on airplanes and even in large cities at facilities where an alternative communication line cannot be temporarily or permanently drawn.

One of the key advantages of all such “constellations” of satellites in low orbit – low signal delay – may interest several types of very important customers at once. Firstly, these are infrastructure facilities and utilities in cases where data from them must be obtained promptly. Secondly, it’s the military, which will quickly “try out” the ability to control, for example, drones in real time (the signal lag is less than 100 milliseconds), and not as it is now available with a delay of 0.5-4 seconds, or even more. Thirdly, if the signal delays can be reduced to the promised minimum, Starlink and its competitors will become a very likely tool for traders and financial organizations, and this is money, a lot of money.

The problem with all these satellites lies in their main advantage – cheapness. Manufacturing companies save and will save on everything, which means that not the most obvious issue of cybersecurity may “fall under the knife”. If we add to this the electronic components of mass production, which are relatively easy to find and study, it turns out that hackers have all the cards on hand. Attackers are given the opportunity to analyze targets in such detail as it has never been possible for spacecraft.
And the most dangerous thing is the lack of a legislative base and normative acts concerning this issue. Who will be responsible for the overlooked vulnerability due to which hackers broke into several satellites and displaced them from orbit? if the criminals intercepted the traffic with the help of an extraterrestrial data exchange node and received important information, or even access to the country’s infrastructure facilities, how will responsibility be distributed in this case?

The problem with cybersecurity can manifest itself at all stages of the production process of projects such as Starlink and OneWeb. The use of mass electronic components, but not custom-made or in-house, leaves the opportunity for the contractor to add backdoors (“back doors”) to the design. The same goes for software, and almost to a greater extent.
These are not far-fetched situations: in the recent history of mankind there is already at least one confirmed hacker attack on a satellite. In 1999, attackers were able to remotely infiltrate the internal network of the Goddard Space Flight Center and gained access to computers responsible for monitoring the ROSAT X-ray orbital observatory. It is not known whether this happened intentionally or not, but cybercriminals experimented with various commands to the spacecraft and ultimately disabled it.

As a solution, one can propose the introduction of international standards for the creation and management of private satellite constellations and more stringent certification of such projects. Undoubtedly, Starlink, Kuiper and OneWeb are advanced technologies that are almost certainly good. However, along with progress, risks, sometimes serious ones, always keep pace. This is not a reason to abandon a bright future with Internet access from anywhere in the world, but a number of measures must be taken so that it is not overshadowed by the catastrophic consequences of rash decisions.

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Underworld

US coronavirus medicine will cost $ 3120

Gilead Sciences, an American biopharmaceutical company, has announced the value of its coronavirus drug. The general course of treatment for 5 days will have a price tag of $ 2,340.

Until September, remdesivir will be sold only in the United States. The cost of a full course of treatment for people with private insurance is $ 3,120, for an ampoule – $ 520. For patients with state insurance, as well as for patients from other countries, the price of the drug will be $ 2,340 per course and 390 per bottle.

Remdesivir was approved in early May for the treatment of coronavirus in the United States. Although the drug was originally developed to combat Ebola, it was not able to show visible results against this disease. But later, the drug had an effect in the treatment of SARS and MERS infections.

A large clinical study by the National Institute of Allergology and Infectious Diseases showed that the drug reduced recovery time by an average of four days, but did not affect the number of deaths.

Since the United States has a fairly large network of insurance institutions, the importance of remdesivir is not only in its benefit to the patient, but also for the healthcare system.

“Based on the example of the United States, an earlier discharge from the hospital will save her about $ 12 thousand per patient,” said Daniel O’Day, director general of Gilead Sciences.

Since receiving permission for emergency use of the drug, Gilead Sciences has transferred remdesivir to hospitals to treat patients. The last batches of donated drugs were distributed on Monday, June 29th.

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Underworld

In Germany, for almost 30 years, the authorities secretly gave orphans to pedophiles

In Germany, the University of Hildesheim published the final report on the scandalous Kentler project – a terrifying social experiment, during which for about 30 years children were given up for adoption to pedophiles, calling it molestation “socialization” and “sexual education,” Deutsche Welle writes.

In the 1960s in Germany, people in some circles viewed sex with children not as taboo, but as something progressive. One of the key figures in such thinking was Helmut Kentler, professor of psychology and pedagogy in Berlin. For a long time he was considered a seer and one of the most prominent sexologists in Germany. His books on education sold well, he was a popular expert and commentator on radio and television, and held leading positions in the Berlin center for educational research. 

The psychologist founded the theory of “emancipatory sexual education”, suggesting that children have the right to express their sexuality. Beginning in the 1970s, he conducted clinical trials in which pedophiles were allowed to adopt homeless teenage boys aged 13 to 15 for their “mutual benefit”. According to Kentler, pedophiles could become particularly loving adoptive parents.

By 1988, the professor summed up the results of the first stage of the experiments, calling it successful. He argued that sexual relations between adoptive fathers and minors are harmless and help adolescents quickly adapt to society and facilitate the process of growing up. The fact that the boys entered into adulthood with a broken psyche did not bother Kentler.

The experiments were secret, but were carried out with the full approval of the authorities of West Berlin. In his papers, the psychologist wrote that he “managed to enlist the support of responsible local authorities”: from academic institutions to state social welfare services.

For many years, the professor managed to convince the authorities of the normality of his ideas, so he was never prosecuted by the court. By the time his victims made statements, his statute of limitations had expired. The scandal flared up only in 2015; Kentler himself died in 2008.

When the full-scale investigation began, it turned out that there was a whole network in which officials from the Berlin Office for Juvenile Affairs, the city Senate and a number of educational institutions were involved. All of them “accepted, supported and defended” the experiment and its adult participants. In addition, it was possible to establish that among the adoptive fathers were, including eminent scientists from the Max Planck Institute, the Free University of Berlin and the Odenwald school, which are now suspected of pedophilia. (By the way, the Odenwald school was already the subject of litigation in 2014, when a case was launched on the corruption of minor students.) According to Marco and Sven, who became victims of the experiment, one person, The suspect in involvement in this system – the former head of the youth welfare service – is still alive. However, no investigation has yet been made.

The first report on the Kentler experiment was published in 2016 by the University of Gottingen. Researchers then stated that the Berlin Senate did not seem interested in clarifying the truth.

Berlin senator for youth and children Sandra Sheres called the results of the investigation of the University of Hildesheim “shocking and terrifying.” She openly expressed her sympathy for the victims and condemned the crimes, which she calls “simply unimaginable.” Although the statute of limitations for these crimes has expired, Sheres promised financial compensation for the suffering.

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Underworld

Largest ever CIA cyber weapon secret data leak

The reason for the largest secret data leak in the history of the CIA in 2016 was the negligence of elite personnel who focused on creating a new cyber weapon to the detriment of improving the security of computer systems. 

This is written by the American publication The Washington Post with reference to the organization’s internal report, which was written in 2017.

It is noted that the leak was discovered only a year after it occurred, after the WikiLeaks organization published a large archive called “Vault 7”. At the same time, the report says that the CIA might not have known about the leak if WikiLeaks had not released the documents. 

“If the data got to the enemy state and remained secretly with them, we would not know anything about their loss,” the report said.

The authors of the documents also wrote that the exact size of the stolen information could not be established. It probably reaches 34 terabytes, or 2.2 billion pages. It is noted that the level of security system developed by the CIA cyber division was “terribly weak”.

After an internal investigation as a result of leakage under suspicion of transferring WikiLeaks about CIA operations data was Joshua A. Schulte, a former employee of the security services. He was one of the developers of programs that the CIA uses to hack into computers of people suspected of terrorism. In March 2020, the jury could not reach a verdict in the Schulte case.

The archive “Vault 7” mentioned software developed by the special service that allows access to phones running iOS and Android, computers running Windows and smart TVs by Samsung.

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