CyTEF – Securing Belgium’s Space and Air Transportation System

RHEA Group selected as consortium partner for Belgian Cybersecurity Test and Evaluation Facility (CyTEF) based in Redu.

CyTEF project will provide cybersecurity research, test and evaluation services to address the changing threat landscape to Belgium’s space and air transportation system, including possible cyberattacks on unmanned aerial systems (UASs).

Since February 2020, RHEA Group has been working on the CyTEF project, created to provide Belgium with a solution to address security threats to space and air transport, and unlock the growing market of drone-powered solutions. This includes possible cyberattacks on UAS command-and-control, payload data and navigation systems. 

CyTEF has been created as part of a European Space Agency initiative under NAVISP Element 3, which allows participating states to define priorities to support their national navigation activities through their own value chain. Element 3 configures elements that support the development and promotion of products, applications and services based on GNSS and, more widely, position, navigation and timing systems, to each national strategy. Element 3 is open to universities, research centres, national agencies and differing application domains. 

Cybersecurity for any kind of drone-powered application, both commercial and specific critical missions, is a growing concern. Any attack, including those related to jamming or spoofing of GNSS signals and command-and-control channels, represents security challenges in the use of UAS, especially for ‘beyond radio line of sight’ (BRLOS) operations. Cyberattacks can also be directed at communication channels, visual line of sight (VLOS) operations and/or radio frequency (RF) links. 

CyTEF will be deployed and demonstrated in Redu, Belgium, where it will be integrated within a dedicated Belgian industrial foothold and the DronePort UAS aerodrome, with segregated airspace available. 

“In command-and-control channels, cyberattacks can compromise the integrity of an aircraft, the ability of the remote pilot to govern it during flight and, ultimately, put the safety of citizens at risk, especially if the UAS falls into an urban area where there is a potential risk to citizens,” said Clivio Tappi, Director, Business Development Cybersecurity at RHEA Group. 

“The Cybersecurity Test Range in Redu and the DronePort facilities in Belgium will allow the analysis of both ground telemetry and control technologies and on-board components. With the advent of cutting-edge infrastructure, it will be possible to perform stress and penetration tests with the purpose of evaluating the robustness of aircraft systems to cyberattacks. Ultimately, the identification of specific procedures and countermeasures will contribute to improving the security of UAV operations.” 

Cyberattacks can impact data confidentiality, integrity and availability, influencing the analysis conducted. In addition, there may be an economic impact from any loss of aircraft, mission data, data alteration and corruption, any of which could result in a loss of return on investment, as well as a potential impact due to damage caused to third party property and infrastructure. 

CyTEF is scheduled to be delivered in 2021, providing an infrastructure to perform security and residence tests on drones and their subsystems, software support, security command-and-control links and the capability to assure the effectiveness of countermeasures. 

 

Press contact: MCC@rheagroup.com 

About RHEA Group

RHEA Group is a privately-owned professional engineering and solutions company, providing bespoke engineering solutions, system development and security services for space, military, government and other critical national infrastructure organizations. Since its creation in 1992, RHEA has built a reputation as a trusted partner, developing tailored solutions that help drive organizational and cultural initiatives, leading to sustainable added value for its customers.

Headquartered in Belgium, RHEA Group employees over 500 people and has offices in Belgium, UK, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Canada, and works at clients’ premises throughout Europe and North America. RHEA is ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified.