Defending spacecraft and satellites — the “outernet” — may very well be the final cybersecurity frontier. Enter SpiderOak, a cyber defense specialist for next generation space systems, which has been awarded a U.S. Defense Innovation (DIU) contract to deliver its OrbitSecure zero trust protocol in space.
A Cybersecurity Space Force
The project will demonstrate end-to-end cybersecurity for the U.S. Department of Defense's future Hybrid Space Architecture, an initiative the U.S. Congress has begun referring to as the "outernet," SpiderOak said in a prepared statement. SpiderOak's DIU contract is in collaboration with the United States Space Force Space Warfighting Analysis Center (SWAC).
Explaining the imperative for the work ahead, John Moberly, SpiderOak senior vice president for Space, said:
"Warfighters have identified cyberattacks as the 'soft underbelly' of the satellites on which we depend for our defense and modern life. We are thrilled to be selected by DIU and SWAC and partnered with York Space Systems to secure this mission and we are very much looking forward to working with the other companies selected to support the entire Hybrid Space Architecture into the future. Jointly we are enabling a foundational layer of commercial industry and allied capabilities to ensure our national security is protected from the ground and from space."
Today, as commercial space companies continue delivering increasingly innovative capabilities at an unprecedented rate, the Pentagon grows more eager to incorporate these technologies while securing and defending hybrid (mixed commercial and government) networks across multiple domains, according to SpiderOak. And because of escalating threats from China and Russia, it is more critical than ever to ensure secure the space domain for commercial, civil and military users, including international allies and partners.
Taking Zero Trust to Zero Gravity
SpiderOak notes that OrbitSecure can significantly reduce the cyberattack surface and the ability of adversaries to jam, disrupt, modify or contest space communications and satellite services. Accordingly, OrbitSecure’s zero-trust software suite supports DIU's development of a scalable architecture capable of communicating across government and commercial networks.
Designed to take zero trust security to zero gravity environments, OrbitSecure combines no-knowledge encryption and distributed-ledger technology to meet the unique demands of cybersecurity in space, the company said. OrbitSecure uses a decentralized key management system, allowing for full availability and continued operations in space despite disconnected or highly contested networks.