European Space Agency

Security Issues for satcom

The expanding use of internet communications and the reliance on this technology by users is making security issues increasingly important. ESA's role is to ensure that new techniques can be implemented for satellite communication. Issues related to security will appear on this web page.


Although few in number, several projects have begun to show promise and make a worthwhile addition to understanding challenges and identifying new technical solutions. The ultimate goal of any project is to make a genuine contribution to security.

ESA has identified six main areas of interest for security:

  • Confidentiality: Ensures that information be accessible only for authorized parties

  • Authentication: Ensures that the origin of a message is correctly identified with an assurance that the identity is not false

  • Integrity: Ensures that only authorized parties are able to modify transmitted information

  • Availability: Requires that communication entities be available to authorized parties

  • Nonrepudiation: Requires that neither the sender nor the receiver of a message be able to deny the transmission

  • Access Control: Requires that access to information resources may be controlled by or for the target system

To date several ways of securing transmission can be applied: at the application level, the network level, and the link level. Standards for each of these are already available for unicast transmissions while secure multicast is an area of current and future interest.

Balanced awareness among the user community of issues as well as new security technologies is critical to the expansion of internet communications. ESA's role is to ensure that these technologies can be implemented for satellite communication.

On the right side of this page is a list, identifying projects in the ESA ARTES programme that are related to security issues.

Published 05 July 2005
Last updated at 05 July 2005 - 00:00

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