Satellite jamming is a kind of censorship, whereby the government or hackers or criminals prohibit access to satellite and prevents the free flow of information. It is also referred to as intentional technical interference. Satellite jamming is a breach of law of Article 15 of Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunications Union as explained by ethical hacking course expert of International Institute of Cyber Security, Mike Stevens.
If any government like china where right of free speech is not allowed and government wants to control the media and communication done over other modes of communication like satellite then sometimes government can seek option of satellite jamming. This can help government or an organization to get a tight grip over the media and all modes of communication and control satellite television broadcasts from outside the country.
Satellite jamming incidents have occurred in various countries like Russia, Cuba, Iran, China and even in US as per information security training expert, James Taylor. International Satellites transponder receives information from uplink stations, which might be television stations or companies and then satellites broadcast the signal across various downlink stations on the ground.
Orbital jamming involves the criminal o hacker sending contradictory signals directly towards a satellite through his own or hacked uplink station. When these jamming signals are sent, frequencies mix with each other and the original feed is disrupted and nobody can hear the original signal/channel.
As satellite system works in groups of channels, when one channel is jammed, all others channel in the group are also disrupted. Orbital jamming done by some government causes censorship not only in their country but for other countries and continents too. For example, if Democracy oriented radio suffers an orbital jamming attack in China, all Indian viewers tuned into the same frequency from the same satellite will not be able to access that radio channel. As per ethical hacking course expert, neighboring channels can also be affected by jamming.
Terrestrial jamming occurs in a specific location and involves equipment. Rather than targeting the satellite itself, as is the case in orbital jamming, terrestrial jamming involves sending contradictory signals directly towards the local consumer-level satellite dish. The contradictory frequencies are area-specific, interfering only with the signals of satellite in a specific location. Small, portable terrestrial jammers have a range of 5 kilometers in urban areas. Big terrestrial jammers have range up to 50 kilometers. Terrestrial jammers also interfere with radio frequencies, thus affecting radio communications between the police, hospitals etc. Consumers will not find out whether they are experiencing terrestrial or orbital jamming. Information security training expert explained that the technology required for satellite jamming is fairly standard, easy to purchase, use and conceal and cost is around 4000 to 30000 USD.