Energy Drain Attack in Satellite Internet Constellations.

IWQoS(2023)

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Abstract
Entering the “NewSpace” era, satellite Internet constellation (SIC) is expanding rapidly. However, while operating a large number of broadband satellites in free space enables great opportunities for ubiquitous and low-latency Internet services, it also involves new threats that were previously ignored to the energy-limited satellite systems. In this paper, we investigate the feasibility and impact of a new class of real risk in emerging SICs: energy drain attack. To this end, we play the role of an attacker and propose Starmelt,an energy drain attack mechanism that persistently injects malicious traffic that goes through the victim satellite from various geo-distributed locations, preventing the victim from hibernating and overusing the satellite battery to cut its lifetime. Further, we design a series of techniques to: (i) handle the path ambiguity challenge caused by various access selection and routing schemes to guarantee that the deliberately crafted traffic can precisely pass through the victim; (ii) leverage the tail energy consumption characteristics to reduce the detectability as well as the traffic cost of an attack. Extensive simulations based on real constellation knowledge demonstrate that Starmeltcan substantially increase on-board energy consumption, reducing up to 76% lifetime of the victim satellite under various power models and traffic patterns.
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Key words
broadband satellites,constellation knowledge,energy drain attack,energy drain attack mechanism,energy-limited satellite systems,geo-distributed locations,Internet services,low-latency Internet services,NewSpace era,on-board energy consumption,path ambiguity challenge,routing schemes,satellite battery,satellite Internet constellation,SIC,Starmelt,tail energy consumption characteristics,traffic cost,traffic patterns,ubiquitous Internet services,victim satellite
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