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New Cyber Avionics Lab

armasuisse Science and Technology is adding a laboratory to the Cyber-Defence Campus to carry out realistic investigations into cyber risks of digital aviation communications systems. This unique laboratory will be presented to the international cyber community on 8 August at the 15th Cyber Security Experimentation and Test (CSET) Workshop.

02.08.2022 | Dr. Vincent Lenders, Cyber-Defence Campus, armasuisse Science and Technology

Front view of a computer with many buttons and a display with information about cyber
New Cyber Avionics Lab to investigate cyber attacks in airspace.

armasuisse Science and Technology (S+T) is the technology centre of the DDPS. Its responsibilities include technology management, independent reports and testing. Testing cyberattacks on aviation communications systems has to be done extremely carefully so as not to disrupt air traffic. Swiss airspace is busy day and night, so it is almost impossible to conduct practical tests in the real world. A laboratory environment is a way around this.

In laboratory tests, cyber attacks can be investigated without interfering with air traffic. However, the laboratory systems used in the past were very different to the real systems in aircraft, so the results were not always conclusive enough to derive the cyber security measures needed from them.

The new Cyber Avionics Lab, which has been established by the Cyber-Defence Campus over the last two years, has integrated and connected the same certified systems that are currently used in aircraft. This makes it possible to reach conclusions about how a real aircraft would react to cyberattacks. The tests investigate civil airspace communications systems.

On 8 August, a Cyber-Defence Campus researcher will present this globally unique lab concept to the broad international cyber community at the 15th Cyber Security Experimentation and Test (CSET) Workshop. This workshop is held in advance of the USENIX symposium, which brings together researchers, specialists, system administrators, system programmers and others interested in the latest advances in computer systems and network security. 

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