Apr 2021 | No Comment

Free Resources to Protect Critical Infrastructure From GPS Spoofing

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has published the Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Integrity Library and Epsilon Algorithm Suite to protect against Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) spoofing, or deceiving a Global Positioning System (GPS) device through false signals. These resources advance the design of PNT systems and increase resilience of critical infrastructure to PNT disruptions.

PNT services, such as GPS, are a national critical function that enable many applications within the critical infrastructure sectors. However, “The increasing reliance on GPS for military, civil and commercial applications makes the system vulnerable,” according to Space Policy Directive-7 (SPD- 7), issued on January 15, 2021. “GPS users must plan for potential signal loss and take reasonable steps to verify or authenticate the integrity of the received GPS data and ranging signal, especially in applications where even small degradations can result in loss of life.”

The PNT Integrity Library and Epsilon Algorithm Suite address this issue by providing users a method to verify the integrity of the received GPS data. “We are excited to release these resources to the PNT community to improve resiliency against potential GPS signal loss,” said DHS S&T PNT Program Manager Brannan Villee.

“Since GPS signals can be jammed or spoofed, critical infrastructure systems should not be designed with the assumption that GPS data will always be available or will always be accurate,” said Jim Platt, Chief of Strategic Defense Initiatives at the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) National Risk Management Center. “Application of these tools will provide increased security against GPS disruptions. However, DHS also recommends a holistic defense strategy that considers the integrity of the PNT data from its reception through its use in the supported system.”

The PNT Integrity Library and Epsilon Algorithm Suite are open source and available free of charge.

NIST Finalizes Cybersecurity Guidance for PNT Systems

As part of an effort to help users apply its well-known Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) as broadly and effectively as possible, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released finalized cybersecurity guidance for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) services.

Formally titled Foundational PNT Profile: Applying the Cybersecurity Framework for the Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Services (NISTIR 8323), the document is part of NIST’s response to the Feb. 12, 2020, Executive Order 13905, Strengthening National Resilience Through Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Services. To develop the profile, NIST sought public input regarding the general use of PNT data before releasing a draft version in October 2020. The finalized version reflects public comments NIST received on the draft.

The “profile,” a term NIST uses to describe the application of the CSF to a specific implementation scenario, is intended to help mitigate the cybersecurity risks that confront PNT services. These services are important to national and economic security and include the Global Positioning Systems that are widely used by smartphone-based navigation apps, as well as split-second timing technologies that enable stock trading and efficient control of the power grid.

“Many efforts to secure PNT services were underway before we began developing this profile, but there wasn’t a formal reference for risk mitigation that everyone could use,” said NIST’s Jim McCarthy, one of the profile’s authors. “The Executive Order was targeted to address all users of PNT services, and we are confident the entire community can benefit.”

The main addition since the draft version was released is a “Quick Guide” intended to offer users an easier way to get started using the profile.

“The Quick Guide illustrates all the areas we cover in the profile and simplifies them,” McCarthy said. “Those less familiar with their own use of PNT services will benefit from the guide, as the process of implementing the profile may seem complicated for the novice user.” IT personnel might appreciate the extensive set of references the authors have included. These range from guidance already published by both government and private sector entities to academic papers and other technical sources.

“The profile has perhaps the most comprehensive list of PNT cybersecurity references compiled into a single document so far,” McCarthy said. “They can serve as examples for anyone trying to tailor the profile’s approach to their own system.” McCarthy said that although the profile was now finalized, NIST would continue to look for ways to keep it current.

“In accordance with the Executive Order, we plan to revisit the profile every two years or as needed,” he said. “We intend to make sure it remains useful.”

GSA Entrepreneurship Day

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) has announced the winners in this year’s MyGalileoSolution & MyGalileoDrone competitions. The jury has selected the winning teams in both competitions based not only on their innovative use of key Galileo differentiators but also on their market-oriented approach and potential for wide uptake. The winning teams were announced during Entrepreneurship Day, hosted by the GSA on 02 March. In the MyGalileoDrone competition, the first prize went to the team Abzero (Italy), for Nautilus – a unique tracking solution for the autonomous delivery of medical goods. Second prize was awarded to Spectralight (Poland) for SpectraDrone, an outside leisure application. ThunderFly (Czech Republic) received third prize for TF-ATMON – a system for performing in-situ atmospheric measurements, while fourth prize went to Raytrack (Spain) for 5GBeamCheck, which uses a UAV to perform 5G antenna tests. The winning team receives EUR 100,000, with EUR 60,000 going to the team in second place, EUR 40,000 for third place, and EUR 30,000 to the fourth.

In the MyGalileoSolution competition, the first place in Track 1 (from idea to prototype) went to VisionAnchor (Slovenia) the world’s first video anchor monitoring system for boats , with second prize going to BitPet (Norway), an Augmented Reality mobile game where each player takes care of a digital pet and third prize – to BeeLive (Greece), a beekeeper’s decision making and social networking tool based on GNSSenabled devices. Meanwhile, in Track 2 (from prototype to product), the top three teams were 10Lines (Estonia), the autonomous parking lot marking solutions in first place, followed by V-Labs (Switzerland), the Augmented Reality solution for visualizing, measuring and modifying geospatial data with centimeter accuracy in second and Lympik Oculus (Austria), a sport analysis application in third. MyGalileoSolution is the biggest competition ever organized by the GSA, with a prize pool of almost EUR 1.5 million shared by 50 teams, including the six finalists, with awards ranging from EUR 15,000 to EUR 60,000.

Glonass satellite retired after 10 years in service

The satellite of the Glonass-M type was switched off after its atomic clock, a key piece of timekeeping equipment, broke down, a source in the know told Sputnik. “No.731 was retired on March 9, 2021. The use of the spacecraft was discontinued,» the center said in a statement.

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