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SpaceX To Launch The Arab World’s Most Advanced Satellite In 2023

The launch of the MBZ-SAT is part of the UAE’s broader space ambitions, including plans to have a human colony on Mars by 2117.

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spacex to launch the arab world's most advanced satellite in 2023
SpaceX

Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the government organization working on the UAE space program, has announced that it will use the SpaceX rideshare program to launch the MBZ-SAT satellite into space in 2023.

SpaceX established its rideshare program two years ago as a low-cost alternative to traditional white-glove launch services. Since then, over 200 satellites have been launched thanks to the program, which is aimed at small satellites like the 700 kg MBZ-SAT satellite, whose weight and size make it a great fit for the 24-inch ESPA class port, which has a maximum capacity of 830 kg.

mbrsc team with mbz-sat satellite

MBRSC

Once successfully deployed, the MBZ-SAT will become the Arab world’s most powerful Earth-imaging satellite, significantly outperforming the KhalifaSat, the first Emirati-built satellite, by offering nearly twice the resolving power and featuring multiple other improvements to take clear images from around 500 km above the surface of the Earth.

Most components for the satellite were developed domestically in partnership with UAE-based companies, including Mubadala-owned Strata, Falcon Group, Edge Group’s EPI, Halcon, and Rockford Xellerix. There’s still quite a bit of work left to do before the MBZ-SAT can take off for space, however, which is why the satellite won’t launch any sooner than in 2023.

Also Read: The First Space Hotel Is Set To Open In 2027

“MBRSC team completed the structure model and initial tests of MBZ-SAT along with the completion of the engineering and Flatsat qualification module,” the organization tweeted. “The team will now begin preparations to manufacture the flight model”.

The launch of the MBZ-SAT is part of UAE’s broader space ambitions, including a plan to have a human colony on Mars by 2117 and participation in NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024. To become a major player in the space race, UAE must support local companies and inspire young people to pursue careers in the space industry.

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New Variants Of Android Spyware Are Targeting Middle East Users

Sophos recommends Android users to never install apps from untrusted sources and avoid ignoring available OS and app updates.

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new variants of android spyware are targeting middle east users

British security software and hardware company Sophos has recently revealed that new variants of Android spyware used by the C-23 group are actively targeting users in the Middle East.

C-23, also known as GnatSpy, FrozenCell, or VAMP, is what cybersecurity professionals refer to as an advanced persistent threat (APT) adversary. Such adversaries are typically well-funded and well-organized, which allows them to quickly evolve their tactics to overcome even the most sophisticated cybersecurity defenses.

The C-23 adversary has been known for targeting individuals in the Middle East since at least 2017, with a particular focus on the Palestinian territories.

The latest variants of its Android spyware are most likely distributed via a download link sent to victims as text messages. The link leads to a malicious app that pretends to install legitimate updates on the victim’s mobile device. When the app is launched for the first time, it requests a number of permissions that let it spy on the victim. It then disguises itself to make removal more difficult.

c-23 gnatspy frozencell vamp android spyware middle east

“The new variants use more, and more varied, disguises than previous versions, hiding behind popular app icons such as Chrome, Google, Google Play, YouTube, or the BOTIM voice-over-IP service” explain Sophos. “If targets click a fraudulent icon, the spyware launches the legitimate version of the app, while maintaining surveillance in the background”.

Also Read: Dubai Establishes $272 Million Future District Fund To Attract Tech Companies

The information the new spyware can steal includes everything from text messages to the names of installed apps to contacts from all kinds of apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp. The spyware can even dismiss notifications and toggle “Do Not Disturb” settings.

Sophos recommends Android users to never install apps from untrusted sources and avoid ignoring available OS and app updates. The company’s own mobile antivirus app, called Sophos Intercept X for Mobile, can detect the new spyware as well as all kinds of other malicious software.

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