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CYSEC wins ESA contract to protect governmental data

The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded a contract to CYSEC, a Vaud-based cybersecurity company, to develop end-to-end protection of governmental data exchanged over satellites.

ESA Satellite Communications
CYSEC wil develop end-to-end protection of governmental data exchanged over satellites, under ESA’s Strategic Programme Line Space Systems for Safety and Security (ARTES 4S). | © ESA

Satellite communications are a critical part of security and defense-related governmental communications (Govsatcom) with many use cases ranging from surveillance, crisis management, critical infrastructure management, border control, election monitoring, etc. Govsatcom traffic is predicted to a 25-fold increase by 2040 with civilian applications representing most of the usage (around 80%). Consequently, solutions must be found to accommodate that traffic increase. In this context, CYSEC has been contracted by ESA to improve the cryptographic key exchange protocol of ARCA trusted OS to be compatible with commercial satcom links to be implemented on its ARCA trusted execution environments to ensure end-to-end security.

The solution developed by the Vaud-based cybersecurity company CYSEC will allow Govsatcom users to procure Comsatcom services while benefiting from the highest level of security without impacting the performances. The activity will be fully led and performed by CYSEC with the technical support of the Cyber Defense Campus of armasuisse. This ESA contract further demonstrates that space infrastructures play a key role in data processing and transmission, and that security in the space industry is still at its infancy.

A perfect example of Swiss innovation

Based at the EPFL Innovation Park, CYSEC is positioned as the European leader in the protection of sensitive data, and thanks to its expertise and major partnerships, the ARCA trusted OS is now ready to protect data in space.

Mathieu Bailly, head of space activities at CYSEC, commented : “It is an honor to be awarded a contract from the European Space Agency as data security is the challenge of our century and governmental data are certainly among the most sensitive. Our goal is to implement ARCA, the CYSEC data security technology, on both sides of a commercial satellite link to provide end-to-end protection. We will be also leveraging the research done by the Cyber Defense Campus of armasuisse to minimize the impact on performances. This project is a perfect example of Swiss innovation !”

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