Security Experts:

U.S. Air Force Seeks Research in Space Systems Cyber Resiliency

The U.S. Air Force, specifically the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate, is seeking to gain a better understanding on the state of industry research when it comes to protecting ground and space-based assets, with bonus points to clever researcher that covers cybersecurity.

According to the Request for Information (RFI), the AFRL the goal is to look for innovative research for cybersecurity that pertains to “the mission of the spacecraft, the spacecraft as a platform, the systems that constitute the spacecraft, the computers and their software, the busses and networks within, and the elements that interface to the spacecraft.”  

This includes research covering entire acquisition lifecycle form requirement to sustainment. Depending on what’s out there with regard to expertise and capability, the AFRL says they are considering funding additional research in the future.

In addition to technologies that will provide indications of an active cyber-attack against a spacecraft, the RFI lists some other interesting concepts including:

- Novel cyber-secure telemetry, tracking, and commanding (TT&C) tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) as an enhancement to existing space information assurance technology.

- Analytic tools and frameworks that permit enhanced understanding of the concepts behind both the vulnerability of present and better engineering of future systems to cyber-attack.

- Technologies that will allow survivable spacecraft missions under adverse cyber stress.

- Methodologies for spacecraft cyber defense-in-depth, focusing primarily on threat avoidance through vulnerability mitigation, and allowing mission survival with graceful degradation under cyber-attack.

If this type of research is something your organization does, the Air Force wants to hear from you. Details are at the link above, and the deadline is May 6, 2013.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.