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Invictus
Case Studies May 20, 2019

Infusing Security into FAA’s NextGen Systems

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is modernizing the nation’s air transportation system to increase the safety, capacity, and resiliency of flight. The NextGen program will enable Air Traffic Control (ATC) operators to receive and communicate data that will decrease flight times and improve flight safety and security.  The NextGen technologies will also enable increased air traffic, improve tracking accuracy, and facilitate rapid response and recovery to disasters or radar failure. This case study explores how Invictus’ cybersecurity experts have built security controls into two vital NextGen systems.

The Challenge

FAA continues to increase the capacity of US airspace and the ability to efficiently manage air traffic. To achieve this, FAA developed two GPS systems to increase the accuracy of flight data to safely decrease the distance between aircraft utilizing the Surveillance and Broadcast Services (SBS) and SBS- Advanced Surveillance Enhanced Procedural Separation (ASEPS) systems.  In order for FAA  to accomplish these goals, security requirements needed to be built into each systems to protect from security and cyber incidents.

The Solution

The Invictus Cybersecurity Team determined that the SBS and SBA-ASEPS required two solutions with a common thread – to determine the technical means required to meet the intent of FAA policy and provide the optimal balance between mission essential performance requirements and security controls. The effort included detailed analyses of mission requirements and alternatives followed by coordination with the National Airspace System (NAS) to reach agreement on security requirement implementation. The Invictus Team assessed the planned security improvements, recommended high-impact/zero-cost/low-risk security enhancements, and facilitated agreements among cross-agency stakeholders to ensure the balance of system requirements and security was fulfilled.

The Impact

These solutions provided program assurance and security capabilities for the deployment of essential ATC technologies, required mandates, and fulfills the NextGen requirements to meet commercial and private air traffic needs.   These capabilities ensure safety of flight and the ability to quickly mitigate damage and degradation from natural disasters or mechanical failures.