ESA is creating a new centre for cyber-security which will safeguard all Agency systems against outside interference, extending from ESA infrastructure around the globe to satellites in orbit.
Space infrastructure is becoming ever more critical for Europe’s economy and society – and adversaries are taking note. Ensuring ‘cyber-resilience’ of our space and ground systems is therefore part of ESA’s daily duties.
Entering operations in 2024, ESA’s new Cyber-Security Operations Centre (C-SOC) will provide an Agency-wide cyber-monitoring and management capability ESA has signed a ‘phase 2’ contract with a consortium of 19 European companies led by Leonardo in Italy to design, implement, build, validate and operate the C-SOC, under the technical responsibility of the ESA Security Office.
“The C-SOC will represent a unique capability in Europe, reinforcing ESA’s preventative-reactive security measures,” says Massimo Mercati, heading ESA’s Security Office.
Tommaso Profeta, Managing Director of Leonardo’s Cyber Security Division, adds: “As an international company dedicated to the management of technologies for the security of strategic assets, we are proud to be able to put our skills at the service of ESA for the protection of space assets and systems in terms of confidentiality, integrity, and availability.”
The establishment of C-SOC is in line with ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher’s Agenda 2025 charting the Agency’s near-term future, which emphasises the importance of ensuring cyber-security of European space assets so that citizens can rely safely on the systems and services they enable.
Operating on a distributed architecture basis, the new C-SOC will be able to provide resilient and redundant security coverage to the entire ESA infrastructure, monitoring and managing its vulnerabilities 24 hours a day and 365 days a year – also improving security for ESA Member States and partners.
C-SOC will have nodes and interconnections distributed across all main ESA sites, while to allow widespread coverage across European territory, mobile C-SOC stations – Cyber Portable Operational Platforms – will be deployed as needed, in principle extending protection to partners involved in ESA missions.
C-SOC development is being supported through ESA’s optional General Support Technology Programme, which works with European industry to convert promising engineering concepts into a broad spectrum of useable products.
The centre is being established in parallel with other cybersecurity measures, including the Security Centre of Excellence, the sites working together to complement the capabilities of ESA’s state-of-the-art Computer and Communications Emergency Response Team.