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Cybersecurity is a critical area to focus on as we look to our future in space.
Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent, severe, and sophisticated. As we’ve seen in the news, no industry or government agency is immune to them. Cyber adversaries are continuously evolving their operations and techniques.
These threats are challenging, but at a basic level, space security is focused on key segments within cyberspace, including satellites, their uplinks, downlinks, crosslinks, ground stations, and supply chains.To improve the overall security of these segments, industry can take these four actions:
- Measure Cyber Strengths and Weaknesses: Industry needs to be able to measure the strength of cybersecurity and cyber resiliency for weapon, mission, and training systems. Knowing these strengths and weaknesses helps stakeholders prioritize risks and decide where to invest to establish risk-appropriate levels of cyber defense. When combined with model-based engineering practices supported by reference architectures that incorporate cyber concepts such as zero-trust, systems become much more secure.
- Implement Robust DevSecOps: Programs need to implement rigorous Development, Security and Operations (DevSecOps) processes that focus on cybersecurity throughout a program’s entire lifecycle, from early shaping all the way through production, operations and sustainment. The objective of DevSecOps is to build inherent cybersecurity into development and to foster the mindset that everyone, not just cybersecurity experts, are responsible for ensuring that all parts of the system, and the system as a whole, are built with security as a focus.
- Utilize Cyber Ranges: Realistic mission environment simulations need to be created, including robust red and blue team capabilities, tests and procedures using the latest threat information. Digital Twins and Model Based Systems Engineering, when utilized in conjunction with cyber resiliency activities, greatly enhance the ability to perform higher fidelity cybersecurity testing on space assets. Mature cyber test and evaluation capabilities are critical tools for identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities in space systems before adversaries are able to identify or exploit any weaknesses.
- Strengthen Supply Chains: To minimize the risk of malicious interference with sensitive data, software, and hardware components, supply chain channels must be assessed and managed. Additionally, subcontractors need to implement and continuously monitor the necessary security controls within their own environment. Space vehicles are built from components provided by a wide variety of suppliers, and the compromise of those components prior to the space vehicle or satellite ever ending up in orbit is a key concern in the modern threat landscape.
How Lockheed Martin is tackling these challenges
Space is a key enabler that must be protected end-to-end. It’s critically important to employ common risk- and engineering-based approaches to measure the cyber resiliency of any weapon, mission, and/or training system and to ensure that risk-appropriate mitigations are being considered throughout the development lifecycle. To do this, Lockheed Martin developed our Cyber Resiliency Level® (CRL®) framework to assist stakeholders in prioritizing risks and selecting courses of action for maximum effect against cyberattacks.
“With SmartSat™, Lockheed Martin is bringing the same degree of network security that we see here on Earth into space.”
The CRL® provides stakeholders with an understanding of cyber investments necessary for increased cyber resilience. The model uses six categories, which align with Department of Defense (DoD) customer requirements and hard problems mitigation. The CRL® team measures the customer’s overall risk tolerance to determine ways to reduce possible cyber threats within systems. The team then coordinates with all stakeholders to make recommendations on prioritized courses of action to mitigate threats and increase overall resiliency.
Another asset Lockheed Martin uses is called SmartSat™. It’s a software-defined satellite platform that offers a new level of space vehicle security through software and hardware-based intrusion detection, secure coding, encryption, and identity management.
With SmartSat™, Lockheed Martin is bringing the same degree of network security that we see here on Earth into space. We engineered SmartSat™ so its defenses can be updated as new threats emerge, like how your computer’s antivirus and patches are continuously updated to stay ahead of the existing threats. We can also use artificial intelligence to identify anomalies and mitigate them automatically using pattern detection. All of these things provide better situational awareness to secure our space systems.
Lockheed Martin also uses agile DevSecOps and secure coding principles to make sure the best cybersecurity practices are considered at every step of development. Continuous monitoring in an agile environment means we can deliver and frequently update customized software solutions for our customers in response to rapidly evolving mission needs.
While Lockheed Martin is staffed with cyber professionals who tackle challenging tasks, we don’t pretend to know it all. That’s why our company collaborates with smaller businesses across the industry, enhancing our ability to prepare for and respond to vulnerabilities. We do this as founding members of the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC), which was conceived in response to information-sharing gaps recognized within the cybersecurity and space community. One such collaboration is with SpiderOak Mission Systems, who Lockheed Martin recently entered an agreement with to develop and test a zero-trust cybersecurity platform to secure data across the space data supply chain.
As we enter an era of more software-defined satellites, the U.S.’s ability to track, defend, and fight adversaries depends increasingly on how well we can field the best software and hardware with defensive cybersecurity capabilities intentionally designed in from the component up to the overall system architecture level.