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Research Projects of the Cyber-Defence Campus DDPS at the NATO Cyber Conflict Conference

Bern, 25.05.2021 – Two research papers of the Cyber-Defence (CYD) Campus DDPS will be presented at the international Conference for Cyber Conflict (CyCon) in Tallinn, Estonia from 25-28 May 2021. The projects will deal with two key topics of the CYD Campus: Cyber security in outer space and the use of artificial intelligence in the area of cyber defence.

As part of the competence sector Science and Technology of armasuisse, the Cyber-Defence Campus researches in the areas of cyber security and data science. These research activities resulted in two papers focusing on the key topics of cyber security in outer space and the use of artificial intelligence in cyber defence. These will be presented at the virtual NATO CyCon Conference in Tallinn, Estonia from 25-28 May 2021.

Project 1: Cyber security in outer space

For the first project, the CYD Campus analysed the cyber risks which could occur if different stakeholders use the same launch vehicles in order to transport their satellites into space. While rockets used to transport the hardware of an individual country or a handful of domestic organisations in the past, one individual launch vehicle can send satellites from dozens of foreign countries, for example, on a joint journey around the earth today.
This «ridesharing» practice can be attributed to the high costs of dispatching launch vehicles and the emergence of small, inexpensive satellites called CubeSats. The scientists of the CYD Campus argue that the participation of various stakeholders in a vehicle launch will increase the probability that a manipulated CubeSat will be infiltrated in order to deliberately sabotage the mission.
Using simulations, the researchers demonstrate that attackers have sufficient scope, despite the modest size of the CubeSats, to endanger the security-critical communication during the launch to a large extent. The CYD Campus thus makes clear that the existing launch security controls of launch vehicles exhibit potential vulnerabilities with regard to cyber security.

Project 2: Artificial intelligence in the area of Cyber Defence

In the second project, a concept will be presented to automate decision-making processes in cyber defence teams by using artificial intelligence (AI). Here, those challenges will be described which arise when IT systems are examined for vulnerabilities and protected from attacks using AI. The research paper represents an initial step in the direction of a complete integration of artificial intelligence in the decision-making process of a Cyber Operation Centre, which takes into account the increasing complexity and quantity of cyber attacks.

Cyber Conflict Conference in Tallinn

The CyCon will be held this year for the 13th time and due to the current situation, will take place virtually. It is the flagship conference of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) and addresses important current cyber issues. Each year, more than 600 decision makers as well as legal and technological experts from the public sector, academia and industry from almost 50 countries take part in the conference.

The CYD Campus was founded in 2019 as part of the DDPS’s Cyber Defence plan of action and also serves the National Strategy for Protection Against Cyber Risks (NCS). The CYD Campus’ tasks include the early detection of developments in the cyber area, the development and testing of cyber technologies as well as the training of cyber specialists.

Address for further inquiries

Kaj-Gunnar Sievert
Head of Communications, armasuisse
+41 58 464 62 47

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