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GPS satellite gets a digital twin to ensure cyber security

Artist's rendering: U.S. Air Force

Artist’s rendering: U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force is using digital replica of a GPS IIF satellite to detect any cyber-security issues, reports Air Force Magazine.

Booz Allen Hamilton created the “digital twin” of the Lockheed Martin-built Block IIR GPS satellite — and then tried to hack the system.

“The satellite itself was on orbit,” BAH Vice President Kevin Coggins told Air Force Magazine. “So we built this digital model … and then we went looking for vulnerabilities. We did [penetration] testing and we saw what we could discover.”

The project is in response to a congressional mandate to test GPS for cyber vulnerabilities. Testing areas include the satellite, ground control stations and the radio-frequency links between them. BAH then conducted “man-in-the-middle” attacks on the communication links to identify potential weaknesses between the satellite and its ground control station.

The 12 Block IIR legacy satellites, launched between 1997-2004, were designed for a 7.5 year lifespan, but it will be years before they can be decommissioned.

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