Disable/Bypass Encryption

Threat actors may perform specific techniques in order to bypass or disable the encryption mechanism onboard the victim spacecraft. By bypassing or disabling this particular mechanism, further tactics can be performed, such as Exfiltration, that may have not been possible with the internal encryption process in place.

ID: EX-0006
Related Aerospace Threat IDs:  SV-AC-3 | SV-AC-8 | SV-AV-5 | SV-CF-4 | SV-MA-7
Related MITRE ATT&CK TTPs:  T1562 | T1600.002
Created: 2022/10/19
Last Modified: 2022/12/08


ID Name Description NIST Rev5
CM0002 COMSEC A component of cybersecurity to deny unauthorized persons information derived from telecommunications and to ensure the authenticity of such telecommunications. COMSEC includes cryptographic security, transmission security, emissions security, and physical security of COMSEC material. It is imperative to utilize secure communication protocols with strong cryptographic mechanisms to prevent unauthorized disclosure of, and detect changes to, information during transmission. Systems should also maintain the confidentiality and integrity of information during preparation for transmission and during reception. Spacecraft should not employ a mode of operations where cryptography on the TT&C link can be disabled (i.e., crypto-bypass mode). The cryptographic mechanisms should identify and reject wireless transmissions that are deliberate attempts to achieve imitative or manipulative communications deception based on signal parameters. AC-17(1) AC-17(10) AC-17(10) AC-17(2) AC-18(1) AC-2(11) AC-3(10) IA-4(9) IA-5 IA-5(7) IA-7 SA-8(18) SA-9(6) SC-10 SC-12 SC-12(1) SC-12(2) SC-12(3) SC-12(6) SC-13 SC-13(1) SC-13(2) SC-16(3) SC-28(1) SC-28(3) SC-7 SC-7(10) SC-7(11) SC-7(18) SC-7(5) SI-10 SI-10(3) SI-10(5) SI-10(6) SI-19(4) SI-3(8)
CM0031 Authentication Authenticate all communication sessions (crosslink and ground stations) for all commands before establishing remote connections using bidirectional authentication that is cryptographically based. Adding authentication on the spacecraft bus and communications on-board the spacecraft is also recommended. AC-17(10) AC-17(10) AC-17(2) AC-18(1) IA-3(1) IA-4 IA-4(9) IA-7 SA-8(15) SA-8(9) SC-16(2) SC-32(1) SC-7(11) SI-14(3)
CM0032 On-board Intrusion Detection & Prevention Utilize on-board intrusion detection/prevention system that monitors the mission critical components or systems and audit/logs actions. The IDS/IPS should have the capability to respond to threats (initial access, execution, persistence, evasion, exfiltration, etc.) and it should address signature-based attacks along with dynamic never-before seen attacks using machine learning/adaptive technologies. The IDS/IPS must integrate with traditional fault management to provide a wholistic approach to faults on-board the spacecraft. Spacecraft should select and execute safe countermeasures against cyber-attacks.  These countermeasures are a ready supply of options to triage against the specific types of attack and mission priorities. Minimally, the response should ensure vehicle safety and continued operations. Ideally, the goal is to trap the threat, convince the threat that it is successful, and trace and track the attacker — with or without ground support. This would support successful attribution and evolving countermeasures to mitigate the threat in the future. “Safe countermeasures” are those that are compatible with the system’s fault management system to avoid unintended effects or fratricide on the system. AU-14 AU-2 AU-3 AU-3(1) AU-4 AU-4(1) AU-5 AU-5(2) AU-5(5) AU-6(1) AU-6(4) AU-8 AU-9 AU-9(2) AU-9(3) CA-7(6) CM-11(3) CP-10 CP-10(4) IR-4 IR-4(11) IR-4(12) IR-4(14) IR-4(5) IR-5 IR-5(1) RA-10 RA-3(4) SA-8(21) SA-8(22) SA-8(23) SC-16(2) SC-32(1) SC-5 SC-5(3) SC-7(10) SC-7(9) SI-10(6) SI-16 SI-17 SI-3 SI-3(8) SI-4 SI-4(1) SI-4(10) SI-4(11) SI-4(13) SI-4(16) SI-4(17) SI-4(2) SI-4(23) SI-4(24) SI-4(25) SI-4(4) SI-4(5) SI-6 SI-7(17) SI-7(8)
CM0042 Robust Fault Management Ensure fault management system cannot be used against the spacecraft. Examples include: safe mode with crypto bypass, orbit correction maneuvers, affecting integrity of telemetry to cause action from ground, or some sort of proximity operation to cause spacecraft to go into safe mode. Understanding the safing procedures and ensuring they do not put the spacecraft in a more vulnerable state is key to building a resilient spacecraft. CP-4(5) SA-8(24) SC-16(2) SC-24 SC-5 SI-13 SI-17
CM0043 Backdoor Commands Ensure that all viable commands are known to the mission/spacecraft owner. Perform analysis of critical (backdoor/hardware) commands that could adversely affect mission success if used maliciously. Only use or include critical commands for the purpose of providing emergency access where commanding authority is appropriately restricted.  SI-10 SI-10(3) SI-10(6) SI-3(8)