Smart Satellite Communications

Digital Security of Smart Satellite Communications

Low earth orbit satellites constitute a significant breakthrough in the field of space exploitation. They democratized a field which was completely beyond the reach of resource-limited organizations. As a result, cost-effective constellations of CubeSats have been deployed and proven their usefulness over existing multi-million high-altitude satellites. In such a field with highly privacy and security requirements, the scope is to further support the secure and efficient everyday operation of CubeSats. The main challenges include:

  • Secure execution of mission-critical functions.
  • Enhance the confidentiality and integrity of the exchanged data.
  • Provide resiliency of the OS and SW of the system effective against attacks.
  • Provide security enablers which can run in legacy systems without affecting performance and interrupting operation.

Common day-to-day operations of CubeSats includes the execution of mission applications on-demand, periodic communication for the exchange of health and status information and collection of payload data files. As they are attractive to attackers and data exchanged are transmitted in open, they are exposed to multiple attacks (e.g., MITM and replay attacks). The core objective is to confirm the integrity of all modules cooperating to execute mission-critical functions.

ASSURED will be used to enable the performance of remote security attestation, confirming the integrity of all modules cooperating to execute mission-critical functions, enhance the confidentiality and integrity of the exchanged data and provide resiliency of the OS and SW Modules of the system, against multiple attacks.

A specific set of ASSURED functionalities, including runtime and static attestation, will be applied to verify the integrity of key access operations or control flow integrity before executing a specific critical operation. Furthermore, a binary signature will also be verified before distributing an updated version of the mission application.

Dedicated slides are available here.