Air Force trusted computing experts look to digital twins to foil cyber attack on GPS satellite constellation

March 26, 2020
SMC ran tests without risking damage to expensive and resource-constrained satellites, and to confirm that all system components behave as intended.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Faced with a congressional mandate to test its GPS system for cyber vulnerabilities, the Air Force commissioned a digital replica of the satellites and then asked contractors to launch a cyber attack on the system. Air Force magazine reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

26 March 2020 -- The use of “digital twins” is expanding from modelling in conventional simulators to include trusted computing testing of emerging technologies and systems, predicting engine performance, or training automated systems to fly a plane.

With GPS, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in McLean, Va., built the SatSim twin for the Lockheed Martin Corp. Block IIR GPS satellite for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), in El Segundo, Calif.

That enabled trusted-computing vulnerability scans and penetration tests across the whole GPS system -- including the satellite, ground control stations, and the radio-frequency links between them. Booz Allen then could conduct “man-in-the-middle” attacks on the communication links to identify potential weaknesses between the satellite and its ground control station.

Related: SWrI develops trusted computing capability to test for GPS spoofing vulnerabilities in unmanned vehicles

Related: Optimizing cyber security and trusted computing on today’s connected military and commercial aircraft

Related: Air Force asks Raytheon to provide trusted computing to GPS with secure ASIC components

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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