Security consultant and telecommunications engineer Dr Jordan Plotnek is tackling the problem of making sure space hardware can survive serious cyber attacks
Jordan Plotnek co-founded Anchoram Consulting after starting a PhD in space security. He realised there was a big gap in understanding how to design space systems that can withstand attacks.
“A new challenge in security is keeping satellites up no matter what,” Jordan says.
Curiosity and creativity
Jordan became interested in telecommunications engineering after watching a movie at an outdoor drive-in cinema. As he drove away, Jordan kept tabs on how far they went before the car radio lost the movie’s sound signal.
“I became fascinated with electromagnetic waves and how we communicate over long distances,” he says.
Jordan also got into coding in high school. He was leaning towards a uni course in IT security, but open day advisors steered him back towards engineering. “They said I’d be able to do everything including security,” he says.
Then Jordan took a different turn, joining the Royal Australian Air Force through the undergraduate program, which led to exciting experiences as a cyber warfare officer. Part of his post included leading the first cyber deployment to the Middle East.
After leaving the airforce, Jordan put his security skills to work designing Australia’s first combined civilian and military air traffic control system.
New space age
Jordan says it’s an exciting time to get involved in space. And security skills are a great way to do it. “If you go into security and then space, the good news is it’s very broad.” Jordan has worked with engineers, data scientists, psychologists and geologists. “These days, it’s not just about cyber security, but also physical security and fraud as well as people,” he says.
And with plans to launch an Australian-made lunar rover, things are only going to get better. “Today’s high school students will do the cool stuff. We’re just preparing the way,” Jordan says.
Jordan’s study and career pathway
- Bachelor of Engineering (Telecommunication and Network Engineering) (Honours) Swinburne University of Technology
- Project Manager (Cyber Risk Remediation), Royal Australian Air Force
- Senior Security Architect (Air Traffic Management), Thales
- PhD, University of South Australia
- Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Anchoram Consulting
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Author: Nadine Cranenburgh
Nadine is an electrical and environmental engineer who works as a freelance writer and editor. She loves creating articles and content about exciting and complex technology.