European Space Agency

First cybersecurity ‘Centre of Excellence’ for space assets

Damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021*. Meet CSCE, the technology enabler whose services have sparked multiple H2020 projects and more than €5 million in orders (Image credits: Ronnie Chua/Shutterstock)

Cybercrime is a global scourge – with expenditures on its fallout increasing dramatically. The cost can be financially crippling for companies who often lack the skills to deal with ever-increasing threats. The RHEA Group, under the Technology and Product Phase of ESA’s ARTES Competitiveness & Growth Programme, have now masterminded a Cyber Security Centre for Excellence (CSCE) for advanced cybersecurity technologies. Their vision? CSCE as the enabler for collaborative cyber information sharing, cybersecurity training and education and risk analysis of critical systems.

There are some sobering statistics when it comes to cybercrime, which demonstrate that a large number of companies are at risk with sensitive files left unprotected. Forbes recently flagged up how companies can also find it hard to attract the talent to deal with this critical issue.

First centre dedicated to the security of space assets
By leveraging space industry knowledge and capabilities, the RHEA Group (a knowledge leader for the cybersecurity of critical systems) have launched the Centre for Excellence at ESEC, ESA’s site in Belgium. CSCE is preparing to offer a comprehensive security portfolio built on a ‘security by design’ approach (designed from the very foundation to be secure).

The pioneering portfolio, made possible by the support of the ARTES C&G programme, includes critical infrastructure emulation, secure information sharing, incident management, threats and risk assessments, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing and analysis and support. It also boasts a sophisticated package for advanced staff training including hands-on, complex red/blue team exercises.

New chapter in the cybersecurity era
“In conceiving CSCE we were looking to support European space as well as the wider community,” says David Peilow, Technical Officer of the project at ESA. “The aim of the project was to first of all design a cybersecurity technology testbed to develop, integrate and test advanced cybersecurity technologies.

“The next phase was then about developing supporting technologies with agile and effective cybersecurity services, including education and training, knowledge sharing, operations, research, experimentation, test and evaluation.”

Cyber First Responders and forensics
With 23 dedicated personnel so far on the project, CSCE will offer a platform for resources and information exchange which is specific to cybersecurity for Space and critical infrastructures.

Individuals who are highly trained in cybersecurity will be equipped to test and further develop related business services as well as to carry out training and coordinate cyber-incident and first response measures.

“What’s important is that what CSCE offers is not simply technical,” says Matteo Merialdo, RHEA Group. “It produces services which are market-oriented. This is a purpose concept using technology improvements, products, and vitally – human skills, in order to deliver cybersecurity services in different areas.”

"The cyber range platform is fully multipurpose and greatly cuts design and configuration effort during the creation of very complex scenarios involving thousands of assets,” Matt Merialdo, Rhea Group “Each of the CSCE technological platforms developed within the CSCE project brings consistent improvements in the cybersecurity landscape” David Peilow, ESA

The project faced multiple challenges, including the complexity of the three technological platforms to be developed. For all of the hurdles the ESA/RHEA team found solutions and the payoff has been to see multiple installations of CSCE services throughout 2019 and many more planned for 2020.

“Thanks to ESA’s support and the CSCE project as a strong reference, the RHEA Group recently started multiple H2020 projects which brought several millions of euros for R&D and will further advance the state-of-the-art of the technologies developed.

"CSCE is already well ahead of predicted sales with €5m in orders from the space, government, healthcare and energy communities and many more in the pipeline,” says Merialdo.



*according to Cybersecurity Ventures

Published 07 February 2020
Last updated at 02 March 2020 - 15:58

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