Security monitoring

Galileo Security Monitoring Center Develops Cybersecurity Defenses and Responses – Inside GNSS

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Europe organized a virtual workshop in early September on the topic of “Cybersecurity in and for space operations”. Speakers told attendees about threats posed to vital space systems, including Galileo and GPS, by foreign hackers, cyber warfare and online espionage, and initiatives to enhance satellite capabilities against cyberattacks.

The European Union (EU) has created a multinational governance framework to manage a sudden emergency or failure of the Galileo system. The European Council has “operational responsibility for crisis management linked to the Galileo system”, according to one speaker. The response would be staffed and managed by the Galileo Security Monitoring Center (GSMC) of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) with facilities in France and Spain.

The next generation of satellites such as large constellations of low-orbit minisats for 5G operations will soon become just as essential – and just as vulnerable. The EU is preparing to “harmonise the governance of security … of all its critical space capabilities”, on the model of the Galileo crisis management system, according to Carine Claeys, special envoy for space at the European Service for external action.

According to the GSA, the GSMC “monitors and takes action on security threats, security alerts and the operational status of Galileo system components. The GSMC is also responsible for managing access to the Public Regulated Service (PRS) and ensuring that sensitive information relating to the use of the PRS is properly managed and protected. The Center also provides PRS and Galileo security expertise and analysis.

“In the event of a threat to the security of the European Union or of a Member State resulting from the operation or use of the system, or in the event of a threat to the operation of the system itself, the Council shall give instructions to the GSA, and the GSMC is responsible for implementing these instructions.