low earth orbit satellites (NASA)


DARPA looks for better satellite security

Cybersecurity is a concern not just for systems located on Earth’s surface, but also for satellites hundreds of miles from the ground.

As the the Department of Defense moves toward using large constellations of inexpensive low-earth orbit satellites for DOD space initiatives, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants input into how to bake security into these satellites, according to an April 24 request for information.

DARPA is looking for cybersecurity innovations at every aspect of satellite technology architecture across the timeline from development to decommissioning, such as: 

  • IT systems that collect, generate, store, process, transmit and receive national security information.
  • End-to-end encryption, including techniques and architectures that protect all transmitted data over any communications link.
  • Secure networking for a large number of satellites in multiple orbits with multiple communications links and multiple remote users.
  • Autonomous detection and response to malicious cyber events.

Following the review of responses, DARPA plans to hold a Space Cybersecurity Workshop in San Diego, Calif., with a subset of submitters, to further identifying technology challenges and development strategies for space cybersecurity systems.

In March, DARPA issued an RFI for autonomous management of information sharing across a constellation of networked satellites.

Read the satellite data encryption RFI here.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a reporter/producer at GCN.

Before joining GCN, Leonard worked as a local reporter for The Smithfield Times in southeastern Virginia. In his time there he wrote about town council meetings, local crime and what to do if a beaver dam floods your back yard. Over the last few years, he has spent time at The Commonwealth Times, The Denver Post and WTVR-CBS 6. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received the faculty award for print and online journalism.

Leonard can be contacted at mleonard@gcn.com or follow him on Twitter @Matt_Lnrd.

Click here for previous articles by Leonard.

Defense Systems Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.