International Space Station Emergency Demonstrates IT Security and Technology Threats

A tiny hole can take an entire system down, but only if it goes undetected.

Dozens of participating governments and organisations, multiple dedicated professionals, and countless space aficionados had a bit of a scare recently when an alarm alerted the crew of the International Space Station to a potentially disastrous situation. The system detected a drop in cabin pressure, requiring an immediate investigation. The crew found a tiny hole in one of the capsules of the station and repaired it quickly.

According to the Washington Post, the crew was not in any real danger, but early detection certainly contributed to the limitation of that danger and return to normal cabin pressure. In addition to the lives of the crew, the early detection and rapid response system prevented the loss of a massively expensive and irreplaceable system.

Of course, other systems are vulnerable too, and those holes are not always visible to the human eye. Ransomware and phishing campaigns can bring down or damage an organization. They present the potential for damaged equipment, stolen assets, and even injury to customers and employees. For example, the Wannacry attack cost $4 billion across 150 countries. Furthermore, studies indicate hospital software glitches contribute to patient deaths.

Even if we’re not dangling kilometres above the earth in a highly sensitive vessel, we are all still vulnerable. The more we rely on properly functioning systems, the more susceptible we grow. Security systems designed to detect vulnerabilities in those systems grow more and more important as we structure our lives around them.

In response to these vulnerabilities, we provide a suite of security solutions for businesses: next-generation firewall solutions, email filtering, data encryption. Even businesses that provide and rely upon wireless connectivity without jeopardising their security can rest assured that our IT services provide the best defence against those tiny holes: early detection, quick action, aggressive resolution.

Even here on earth, we need to watch for and patch those tiny threats as aggressively as the crew of the International Space Station did.