back to article Infosec in spaaace! NCC and Surrey Uni to pore over satellite security

NCC Group and the University of Surrey have set up a "Space Cyber Security Research Partnership" to investigate the security issues faced by satellites. A breathless statement from the British university and infosec firm informs us all that they "will utilise the University's world-leading expertise in technological innovation …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "6km of cable per payload"?!

    HOW? The thing's only the size of a car...

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      HOW? The thing's only the size of a car...

      Yes, and the same is true for cars. Several Km of wiring in them.

      "For example, many aircraft, automobiles and spacecraft contain many masses of wires which would stretch over several kilometres if fully extended."

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_harness

  2. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    How? Lots of wires

    Supposedly the average high end car these days has a mile of wire, and that is a pretty humble product compared to a satellite.

    See- https://www.assemblymag.com/articles/92263-wire-harness-recycling

    For some years I've been expecting vehicle wiring harnesses to shrink dramatically due to use of CAN bus or related tech. Why have a whole bundle of wires going to each brake light assembly when you only need a differential pair for CAN plus power? Ground runs through the chassis. Adds cost and complexity... but with literally pounds of copper in a harness at some point adding the complexity will be a fair trade.

    Using CAN or other network to reduce wiring complexity also gives you a much more enjoyable attack surface, but I prefer to call that "job security"

    For the space vehicle my suspicion is that the "harness" it is not a wire loom in the car sense but rather a whole series of kapton substrate flexible printed circuit boards bearing connectors. Lighter, easier to debug, vastly easier to install, more reliable, more test points, etc. Just takes more engineering $. I can see racking up the km very quickly when each trace added to a flex backplane adds almost no incremental mass

    Adding microcontrollers to a space vehicle design is a lot tougher because doing so causes a lot of financial pain - running a full failure mode effects / criticality analysis every time you add another one hurts.

  3. M.V. Lipvig
    Facepalm

    "The organisations added: "Traditionally the satellite industry has, to some extent, relied upon 'security through obscurity'. However, this is no longer the case, as well-known operating systems are being deployed that could potentially be vulnerable to common security issues."

    So someone set loose a bunch of satellites using Windows 10?

    1. Halfmad

      Quite a few use RODOS apparently.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodos_(operating_system)

      1. paulll Bronze badge

        ...and lots use VxWorks

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