A new battlefield has emerged in recent years with no clear front lines and no killed or wounded combatants. However this new form of warfare, which takes place in cyberspace with hackers as main soldiers, is becoming more common, sophisticated and damaging.
While cyberspace is a new theatre of war for land, air, and naval forces, the naval environment brings specific technological challenges that require particular expertise and customized solutions.
As naval systems become more and more complex and connected – using more and more COTS IT and Sofware – with an increasing use of drones and other unmanned systems as well as mobile phones by personnel - they have become vulnerable to enemy attempts to take control. So, it has become vital for naval operations to be able to gather, process, and distribute information securely.
“The challenge for Thales is to provide cybersecurity solutions that are easy to use, since cyber experts are rare on-board ships, and that allow the ship’s personnel to concentrate on completing their operating missions,” says Alain Deturche, Thales Engineering performance manager, defence mission systems activity. “Naval commanders want solutions that provide them with the means to keep operating capabilities during an attack, as well as a fall-back mode. What we do is really “cybersecurity by design”, or putting cyber technology such as sensors and radar into every level of the operating system.”
A complete cybersecurity shield for each vessel
Because Thales has leading expertise in securing complex systems, it can provide a complete cyber situation awareness analysis for each vessel. It does this by using Big Data and Artificial Intelligence that detects abnormal behaviour, including “zero-day attacks,” or vulnerabilities that have not yet been identified, often developed by foreign secret services.
“Artificial Intelligence will allow us to recognize what is normal and what is not, such as new viruses,” says Alain Deturche, Thales Engineering performance manager, defence mission systems activity.
Today navies are making the move from cyber protection to cyber resilience. “This is a more active form of protection,” says Deturche. “It means putting into place measures that will allow vital functions to continue in case of attack, for example, by shutting down parts of the system while maintaining others necessary to preserving the operational mission.”
Cybersecurity by design is one level of the service Thales brings. Another is Mission Resilience, or building and delivering secure systems that protect navies from everyday threats while allowing them to pursue their mission, as well as to provide naval specific recovery procedures.
Finally, Thales provides Lifecycle assurance, recognizing that naval systems will be operational for many decades. This means advanced cyber services and analysis techniques that will keep our customers up to date and ready to deflect the cyber threats of tomorrow.
Thales, the European leader in cybersecurity, is already developing increasingly sophisticated tools to make sure that its worldwide customers are protected against the next wave.
Learn more about cybersecurity on our dedicated page: #cybermonth