If you are at last just beginning to get used to the anxiety-producing pitch of daily living in the 21st Century, I have something to give you a fresh shot of paranoia and adrenalin. Sorry.
“Black Hat” is an annual hacking conference focussing on the internet and computer security, threats and future potentials for hacks which could compromise public security, safety and, in this case, even health.
At this year’s conference in Las Vegas recently The Register reported IOActive security researcher Ruben Santamarta claimed he has found a host of flaws in aircraft, shipping, and military satellite comms equipment. More than just eavesdropping, Santamarta believes the exploits of such hackers could even turn antennas at nearby humans and using the high-frequency microwave-band electronics to bathe them in unwanted amounts of electromagnetic radiation.
“It’s pretty much the same principle as a microwave oven,” he said. “The flaws allow us to ramp up the frequency.”
Santamarta claims mistakes by satellite communications hardware manufacturers left backdoors and code weaknesses which expose the equipment to being taken over by hackers, some of which could even compromise airline, shipping or even military personnel.
“Some of the largest airlines in the US and Europe had their entire fleets accessible from the internet, exposing hundreds of in-flight aircraft,” he told The Register. “Sensitive NATO military bases in conflict zones were discovered through vulnerable SATCOM infrastructure. Vessels around the world are at risk as attackers can use their own SATCOM antennas to expose the crew to radio-frequency radiation.”
Esther Brandt, the main character in my novel, “High Ground” believes herself to be an electromagnetic hypersensitive, who finds herself under siege by a nearby defense contractor developing airborne laser weapons.