Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - 21

RF & Microwave Technology
Monitor Your Spectrum for
Signs of Threats
A
dvances in communications
enable a safer world in many
ways, ranging from health
monitoring and diagnosis to
reliable connectivity for critical defense
systems. However, radio frequency (RF)
signals may negatively affect health if exposure
is too high, as in the case of errant
RF emissions. Concerns also arise over
threats to disable critical communications
from an event such as an electromagnetic
pulse (EMP). An EMP would
halt the functioning of much of society
by disabling electronics. Using RF signals
to trigger attacks with drones or explosive
devices is also an issue. Drones have the
potential for illegal or threatening uses.
While spectrum monitoring cannot
prevent these issues and attacks, it can
detect signs beforehand and provide insight
into mitigating threats. As a result,
military, intelligence, and other agencies
employ spectrum monitoring to
watch communications patterns for suspicious
activity.
General signal monitoring registers
everything from " good " to " bad " signals.
Depending on the behavior of the
communications, different steps can be
taken to get more detail - a process
known as signal analysis. You must
apply what is already known about the
signal environment to register something
that is out of the norm. Artificial
intelligence (AI), machine learning, or
comparisons to databases of known conditions
help to flag anomalous signals.
Communications monitoring can be
done in a slice of the spectrum or for a
given location. A specific enterprise or
agency location might monitor for situations
like espionage. For example, in a
secure facility, it is common to ensure
that visitors do not carry a cellphone to
avoid outgoing transmissions that
breach security protocols. A continuous
monitoring approach aids in establishing
regular patterns in the spectrum.
With advances in software, such
monitoring systems can search through
the spectrum rapidly. The rapid detection
of anomalies enables intervention
in the case of an airborne drone; for example,
tracking the movement of the
individual controlling it. Typical ongoing
communications provide a baseline
from which agencies can form a picture
of regular spectrum activity. ComparAerospace
& Defense Technology, December 2021 www.aerodefensetech.com
Intro
Cov
ToC
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µ
isons to that typical activity will alert
agencies upon the detection of any
anomalous communications activity,
flagging it for closer monitoring.
Electromagnetic Pulses
Active signal monitoring could detect
chatter foretelling of plans for disastrous
threats such as an explosive or
EMP attack. An EMP attack can occur
via detonation of a nuclear weapon
higher in the atmosphere. This type of
attack avoids damaging life on Earth
while disabling communications and
electronic equipment over an extensive
area. Generally, EMPs are momentary
but the damage they cause to electronic
devices is extensive.
While concerns increasingly focus on
human-made EM pulses, they also occur
naturally; for example, solar flares or
sunspots affect communications. To
mitigate any potential harm to spectrum
monitoring equipment or issues
with ongoing detection, you can monitor
forecasts for solar events. Military
and government organizations in particular
should plan for the possibility of
such outages.
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Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021

Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - Intro
Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - Sponsor
Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - Cov1
Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - Cov2
Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - 1
Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - 2
Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - 3
Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - 4
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Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - Cov3
Aerospace & Defense Technology - December 2021 - Cov4
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