GardPass SPACE

Same Challenges, Different Contexts

Guided by our own space professional with over 50 years of industry experience, we are expanding our offerings into this sector focusing on the following.

Situational Awareness
One of the biggest challenges in the cyber world is seeing the “big picture”. Viewing a complex dynamic environment in near real-time in a way that facilitates insight and good decision-making has been the nirvana for years. Much research and investment has been made into war-rooms and “operational centres” (NOCs and SOCs etc) where skilled personnel can oversee and interact with semi-automated systems for a range of clients.

Space is a large disparate and complex environment in which to operate. The positioning and operation of different national, commercial and military assets is changing all the time. In view of the need to ensure that space remains a resource for the common good, it needs to be managed. It has been said that ‘Ensuring space sustainability and safeguarding crucial space assets rely on effective SSA practices.’

Securing the System
To secure a system, it is necessary to holistically understand entities, links, data, processing, stakeholders, software architectures etc. Myriad techniques and standards have been introduced to “tame the complexity” here, including government accreditation and certifications. Centralised and affordable facilities for threat detection and response to attacks have also evolved, including Security Operational Centres and automated scanning/testing. How organisations choose to respond to “incidents” – their policies – are being codified to allow for smart automated actions. And ever more sophisticated verification measures are growing towards the state of “continuous testing”.

In a fast-moving disparate environment such as space, actions need to be anticipated and made to happen at speed. With the advent of those intent on interfering with sovereign assets and systems, it is more important than ever to protect them from outside interference. As Forbes stated in 2023, ‘The time is now to focus on cybersecurity in space’.

Managing assets, threats, risks & identities
Recognising that 100% security is impossible, traditionally efforts have been focused on prioritising protection of key assets, the “crown jewels”, based on their perceived value and/or significance. To facilitate protection, asset management is essential. Zero Trust and Data-Centric Security approaches have recently enabled a degree of protection based on an asset’s “needs” and location, rather than having to constantly decide whether a network/system is trusted or not. This allows for greater mobility (e.g. in untrusted environments) and potentially fewer operational overheads (e.g. of managing threats and risks). Identities (of people and systems) have long been recognised as key to identifying access risks, e.g. ability to conduct fraud following role changes.

Protecting space assets from cyber threats and physical damage is essential. Sustainable practices promote long-term viability and responsible use of space resources. Management in this context will involve both coordination of assets and ensuring that only those who are entitled to operate the assets do so without interference.

Protection of ground-stations and data links
Established procedures and technologies for providing physical protection for key facilities, especially critical national infrastructure, have matured. Data centres have become more significant with the adoption of cloud computing. Various standards are required by governmental system owners. Transmission of sensitive data has been a challenge for millennia and cyphers have evolved exponentially in strength and sophistication. Security of data in transit and at rest is largely determined by the implementation of the controls for its protection of its confidentiality, integrity and/or availability.

Once launched, space assets rely on radio frequency communications for the management and for transmitting information. This means that there is potential for adversaries to interfere at relatively low-cost. In a similar way to established terrestrial protocols, the Space Data Link Security Protocol (SDLS) is a crucial aspect of ensuring secure communication between space missions and ground stations. While the physical implementation of data links is different in space, many of the protection processes are the same: ensuring that links are robust, resilient, adaptable, flexible and secure.

Situational Awareness

Enabling smart visibility of the "big picture" of the space environment


Securing the System

Focusing holistically on the cybersecurity
of the Space Environment

Protection of ground-stations and data links

Managing the components supporting the space assets