Meet a Teen Space Guardian Protecting the Cosmos from Evil using Aerospace Cybersecurityby@angelinatsuboi
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Meet a Teen Space Guardian Protecting the Cosmos from Evil using Aerospace Cybersecurity

by Angelina TsuboiMay 22nd, 2023
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Angelina Tsuboi is a 17-year-old aerospace cybersecurity researcher currently interning for NASA. She writes about vulnerable aerospace systems and how they could be protected from bad actors. She enjoys mechatronics, coding, flying drones and planes, astronomy, and plan to become a mechatronic engineer and an analog astronaut.
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If you’re seeing this interview draft, it means you’ve recently published on HackerNoon a story that the community found interesting and/or valuable. For this reason, we would like to help the community get to know you better as well as find out some writing tips from you.

While this template is automatic, our interest in the answers below is genuine and our human editors (and some cyborg wannabes) will review it before publishing.

So let’s start! Tell us a bit about yourself. For example, name, profession, and personal interests.

My name is Angelina Tsuboi and I am a 17-year-old programmer and aerospace cybersecurity researcher currently interning for NASA. I develop a wide range of cybersecurity tools to protect aerospace systems such as satellites, drones, avionics, and pretty much anything that is in the sky. I enjoy mechatronics, coding, flying drones and planes, and astronomy, and plan to become a mechatronics engineer and an analog astronaut in the future.

Interesting! What was your latest Hackernoon Top story about?

My HackerNoon Top Story was a research article and guide I wrote about the reverse engineering process behind DJI drones using a popular network analyzer tool called Wireshark. Ever since I got into aerospace cybersecurity, one thing I always wanted to hack was the DJI Mini 2 I had laying around at home. So I decided to employ my reverse engineering skills to decipher the DJI communication protocol using a wide variety of methodologies such as bit-precise reasoning and packet dissection.

Do you usually write on similar topics? If not, what do you usually write about?

Yes, I do! I recently started an aerospace cybersecurity series where I write specifically about vulnerable aerospace systems and how they could be protected from bad actors. I usually also develop a program in conjunction with the research that I conduct to contribute to the community as much as I can. Some of my recent articles go in-depth into satellite OSINT (open-source intelligence) and drones!

Great! What is your usual writing routine like (if you have one?)

I really enjoy writing because it is a meditative and almost cathartic method for me to distill and organize all the different ideas and thoughts in my brain in a way where I can educate others about topics I am deeply passionate about. I prefer an organized writing process, so I usually bring my making a brainstorming dump of ideas for topics to write about and then choose the best one. Once the idea is settled, I make a brief outline and then begin filling in the details there from the research I conducted and the relevant knowledge about the topic at hand. I do want to acknowledge that everyone’s thought processes work differently, so what may be really beneficial for me might not be constructive for other writers. Philosophically, I think the process of writing is a great means to self-discovery and aspiring writers should do what works best for them and their own style.

Being a writer in tech can be a challenge. It’s not often our main role, but an addition to another one. What is the biggest challenge you have when it comes to writing?

The age-old saying of “Keep it Simple Stupid“ has been a rather challenging framework for me to adhere to during my writing process. As a technical writer and STEM nerd myself, I often have to catch myself from going off on long technical tangents in my writing and using too much technical jargon. In the end, I constantly remind myself that whatever technical piece I write should keep the best interest of the reader at heart. Although that does mean cutting down on some nerdiness, it really helps in the end because it prevents the diction of the writing from being pretentious and enhances the readability of the article which all boosts the reader’s retention rate.

What is the next thing you hope to achieve in your career?

As of now, I am going to keep developing cybersecurity tools that focus on a wide range of aerospace systems. Some of the current projects I am working on include the file security of telescopes, vulnerabilities related to space-based APIs / web security for space organizations, and reverse engineering the CAN protocol for avionics. In conjunction with development, I am also currently interning for NASA conducting research on meteorites. I also want to pursue a career in mechatronics engineering and analog astronautics which focuses on simulating space environments on Earth. In order to develop my credibility for analog astronautics, I am working on getting certified in skydiving, scuba diving, and piloting planes all before I turn 19 years old.

Wow, that’s admirable. Now, something more casual: What is your guilty pleasure of choice?

Video games, energy drinks, and really long walks ;)

Do you have a non-tech-related hobby? If yes, what is it?

Running, gardening, astronomy, and molecular gastronomy. Anything action-packed and keeps my mental health in check, especially in the world of tech, is also totally up my alley.

What can the Hacker Noon community expect to read from you next?

Lots and lots of aerospace cybersecurity content! Over the past few months, I have become enamored by the field because it is such a creative intersection between two of my disparate passions: aerospace and cybersecurity. I am going to keep developing aerospace cybersecurity research and programs for a variety of aerospace and aeronautical systems and will publish it here in HackerNoon for the broader community to see!

What’s your opinion on HackerNoon as a platform for writers?

Overall, I really enjoy HackerNoon as a platform for writers because it makes the process of writing very simple all the way from writing your article in the seamless editor to the publication and release process. Everything is streamlined and organized on this platform, allowing you to focus on creating the best-written content for the community to enjoy.

Thanks for taking time to join our “Meet the writer” series. It was a pleasure. Do you have any closing words?

Thank you so much for featuring me in the HackerNoon “Meet the writer” series! One closing word of advice I have for anyone reading is to be passionately curious about the topics that interest you and to find an outlet to convey that passion in a way that benefits others. This could be anything like writing, public speaking, programming, acting, showcasing art, etc.

In the end, all of us have the potential to make the world a better place using our respective skill sets, and taking pragmatic action steps that are founded upon our innate interests is a great way to make a benevolent impact on the world!