In 2019, armasuisse’s CYD (Cyber-Defence Campus) in collaboration with Oxford University showed that with $ 300 worth of TV equipment one can access sensitive information broadcasted by satellites : personal data like passwords, private conversations by SMS, but also sensitive data related to critical infrastructures.

A lot of cryptographic tools could be used by satellite internet provider to improve the confidentiality of the data, but the impact on the performance of the link remains the main obstacle.

Protecting data transiting and collected in space via satellites being one of the applications of the confidential computing technology developed by CYSEC, a start-up located at the EPFL Innovation Park in Lausanne, armasuisse decided to join forces with the Vaud-based company through the signature of a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP).

This partnership will allow CYSEC and the CYD team to build synergies based on their respective technical expertise on strategic projects like security of satellite communications.

A game changer for the protection and transiting of data collected in space

Mathieu Bailly, heading the space activities at CYSEC, explains : “The research done by armasuisse is spot on as it will give no more excuses to satellite internet providers to not protect the data broadcasted. We’re looking forward to this collaboration as our trusted execution environment ARCA is well-suited for an industrial implementation of the technology developed by armasuisse. We think it can be a game changer for all users not willing to expose their data while benefiting from the advantages of a satcom link.

The Cyber-Defence Campus was created in January 2019 by the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport through its armasuisse Science and Technology branch to foster technology advances in the field of cybersecurity, and covers three main areas : scout technology in the fast evolving cyber area, develop innovative solutions by leveraging cooperation with industry and universities, and train future cyber specialists.