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SPARTA v2.0. Updates (June 11, 2024)

The Aerospace Corporation has unveiled SPARTA v2.0, a significant enhancement to the Space Attack Research and Tactic Analysis (SPARTA) matrix. This upgraded tool is pivotal in breaking down the critical information and communication barriers that hinder the identification and sharing of Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) within space systems. SPARTA offers unclassified, detailed insights into potential spacecraft compromises via cyber and traditional counterspace threats. The latest version introduces a variety of improvements designed to strengthen the security and resilience of space operations.

Key Updates in SPARTA v2.0

Website Enhancements.

The update includes refined requirements for all countermeasures, controls, and spacecraft threats, ensuring that the matrix remains relevant and comprehensive.

  • A new page dedicated to the decomposition of spacecraft has been created. This page provides an in-depth look at the various components and systems within a spacecraft, enhancing understanding and analysis.
  • Spacecraft Decomposition Mapper Tool. This innovative tool allows users to visualize and map out the different components of a spacecraft, facilitating better analysis and identification of potential vulnerabilities.
  • Space Segment Cybersecurity Profile: A new profile focused on the cybersecurity aspects of the space segment has been added, highlighting key areas where cyber threats may impact spacecraft.
  • The website’s terminology has been updated to align with "A Lexicon for Outer Space Security," ensuring consistency and clarity in communication.

Modified Techniques.

Threat actors may utilize a range of sophisticated techniques to compromise spacecraft. The following techniques have been updated in SPARTA v2.0 to reflect current threat landscapes and defensive measures:

  • IA-0011: Auxiliary Device Compromise. Adversaries may target auxiliary devices connected to spacecraft to gain unauthorized access or disrupt operations.
  • EX-0005: Exploit Hardware/Firmware Corruption. Attackers may exploit vulnerabilities in spacecraft hardware or firmware to cause malfunctions or take control.
  • EX-0013: Flooding. Threat actors may use flooding attacks to overwhelm spacecraft systems with excessive data.
  • EX-0016: Jamming. Adversaries may deploy jamming tactics to disrupt spacecraft communications.
  • PER-0004: Replace Cryptographic Keys. Attackers may attempt to replace cryptographic keys to decrypt sensitive data.
  • DE-0006: Modify Whitelist. Adversaries may try to modify whitelists to allow unauthorized access.
  • EXF-0004: Out-of-Band Communications Link. Attackers might target out-of-band communication links used for emergency or maintenance purposes.

Modified Sub-Techniques.

Sub-techniques detail specific methods adversaries may employ to compromise spacecraft systems. The following have been updated:

  • REC-0008.03: Known Vulnerabilities. Attackers often exploit known vulnerabilities within spacecraft systems.
  • IA-0004.02: Receiver. Threat actors may target spacecraft receivers to intercept or manipulate communications.
  • IA-0009.02: Vendor. Adversaries may exploit vendor-related vulnerabilities.
  • EX-0013.01: Valid Commands. Attackers might inject valid but malicious commands to control spacecraft functions.
  • EX-0016.03: Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT). Adversaries may disrupt PNT services to mislead or impair spacecraft operations.
  • EX-0016.02: Downlink Jamming. Attackers might use jamming to interfere with downlink communications.
  • EX-0014.03: Sensor Data. Threat actors may compromise sensor data to provide false information.

Countermeasures Enhancements.

To defend against these sophisticated threats, SPARTA v2.0 includes updated countermeasures:

  • CM0079: Maneuverability. Enhanced countermeasures to improve spacecraft maneuverability in response to threats, helping to evade or mitigate attacks.
  • CM0084: Physical Seizure. New strategies to prevent and respond to attempts at physically seizing spacecraft.
  • CM0087: Defensive Dazzling/Blinding. Advanced techniques for using dazzling or blinding methods to protect spacecraft from visual surveillance or targeting.

SPARTA remains a crucial resource in the ongoing mission to secure space systems, offering a robust framework for identifying and countering threats. By outlining the tactics adversaries might use to target spacecraft and presenting sophisticated countermeasures, SPARTA equips space professionals with the tools needed to protect vital assets. The updated matrix not only incorporates the latest advancements in space threat intelligence but also improves the communication and sharing of TTPs, ensuring a coordinated and informed defense strategy.

For more details and to explore the new features, visit the SPARTA.

Author: Nessa, Cyber Journalist

Source: https://sparta.aerospace.org

Photo: Pexels/Frank Cone

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