US Air Force reportedly launched cyber attacks on GPS Systems early this year says a source familiar with the news due to Congressional mandate. However, the attack was launched by an experts team of Booz Allen on behalf of US Air Force on the digital replica of satellites and not the original ones and was intended to test the vulnerabilities of GPS Systems.
An official statement released on this note on March 26th of this year in Air Force Magazine( Monthly journal of Air Force Association) confirms the same and affirms the use of ‘Digital Twins’- conventional simulators which usually help in predicting the engine performance and help train pilots with automated systems before flying a flight and emerging technologies.
Dubbed as ‘SatSim’ and built by Booz Allen Hamilton Inc, the GPS Simulator is aimed to conduct penetration tests and vulnerability scans on trusted computing systems across GPS systems. This includes testing of ground control stations, satellites, and other radio frequency links.
A team of experts is allowed to launch man-in-the-middle attacks on the communication links to track down the vulnerabilities and fix them on time before any untoward incident takes place.
Highly placed sources say that SatSim was built by Booz Allen Hamilton with the help of its 4 engineers who then transformed it into a suite of scalable software testing simulator which helps validate cyber threats on GPS systems.
Booz Allen says that such simulators carried out at frequent intervals help track down susceptible links between ground stations and satellites. This helps nations cut down costs in repairing the satellite equipment if it’s targeted by a state-funded actor, as all the risks and mitigation measures are already tabulated.