Forbes McKenzie speaks to The Telegraph on the power of satellite imagery
In a wider article on cyber warfare, McKenzie draws attention to the power of satellite imagery
(November, 2019) - Dominic Nicholls from The Telegraph interviewed Forbes McKenzie, chief executive and founder of McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS) as part of a wider article on cyber warfare.
In a section focussing specifically on satellite imagery, McKenzie tells Nicholls how this imagery has become another area of cyber that offers civilians capabilities that were the preserve of the military and national intelligence agencies until very recently.
Not only have the tools and ability to determine the exact location of a target become widely accessible, the quality of the image and subsequent data is now better than it has ever been before and can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
However, in the right hands, the power of satellite imagery can be transformational.
MIS can look anywhere on Earth in near real time via the medium of cloud penetrating satellite images and ground sensed internet of things devices.
Via a team of dedicated industry and sector experts, MIS delivers timely and focussed updates and bespoke consultancy services to clients across the global re/insurance industry, governments and several industry sectors.
But as McKenzie outlines to Nicholls, terrorists could use such data to plan attacks without ever having to expose themselves to scrutiny. The full article can be viewed at The Telegraph, but here’s a snap shot of Nicholls’ conversation with McKenzie:
“Just as Signals Intelligence has been made much more accessible in recent years, so too has satellite imagery, another area of cyber that offers to civilians capabilities that were the preserve of militaries and national intelligence agencies until very recently.
Forbes McKenzie says the images he uses today are better than anything he ever had access to as an intelligence analyst in the military just five years ago, and the supporting software allows much greater exploitation of the data.
“It’s limited only by your imagination,” he says.
Mr McKenzie’s company works mainly for the insurance industry, although having access to cheap, accurate and regularly updated images from space provides “a great targeting facility for those without national technical means,”he says.
He shows me how easily satellite data could be used to determine the exact location of a target. Terrorists could use such data to plan attacks without ever having to expose themselves to scrutiny.
As an example, he zooms in on the Saudi Aramco oil production facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, that was attacked in September by missiles or drones carrying explosives (Iran was suspected although no clear attribution has been made).
“Every location was struck exactly where it needed to be,” he says, suggesting the sophistication of the whole operation was probably beyond the Houthis, the Yemen-based group supported by Iran. “That attack was probably planned from systems like the ones we use.”
We then zoom out and head further east before landing on the Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai, China.
He shows me images of Chinese naval warships currently under construction and is able to compare the rate of progress by switching between images taken a few weeks previously.
There is more to launching a deniable attack on an adversary using drones, missiles or whatever was fired at the Saudi oil facility, than just being able to pinpoint the location of targets on the earth’s surface down to 50cm, but it is a good start, and available to a civilian audience that would not have had such capability a decade ago.
“The right person would know what to do with that data,” Mr McKenzie says.”
McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS) is an imagery and geospatial data and intelligence firm, servicing clients globally.
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We provide intelligence processing and data and information collection services for the global re/insurance industry. This includes the ability to look anywhere on Earth in near real time via the medium of cloud penetrating satellite images and ground sensed internet of things devices.
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Published on November 14, 2019 09:51