Microsemi’s BlueSky GPS Firewall protects critical infrastructure

September 26, 2017  - By
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Microsemi Corporation, a provider of semiconductor solutions, today announced its new approach to protecting critical infrastructure against GPS spoofing and jamming threats.

The BlueSky GPS Firewall is designed to provide security protection for GPS-delivered position, navigation and timing (PNT) data. It can be deployed in-line between any standard GPS antenna and stationary GPS receiver to provide protection against GPS signal incidents, both intentional or accidental, before they enter a GPS receiver system.

Microsemi is making BlueSky GPS Firewall Evaluation kits available in advance of its full production release, both in response to the growing number of GPS incidents and their potential threat to critical infrastructure, and to assist customers in rapid adoption.

BlueSky GPS Firewall filters the GPS signal in real time, removing anomalies before the signal is consumed by the downstream GPS receiver. This creates an intelligent and secure barrier against jamming and spoofing, and prevents the GPS receiver from being impacted by such incidents.

Deployment of the BlueSky GPS Firewall does not require any new cabling or alteration of the pre-existing antenna installation and is interoperable with standard GPS receivers. Additionally, the BlueSky GPS Firewall incorporates an Ethernet interface for remote management and monitoring and includes a secure web interface that any browser can use for configuration and set-up of the device.

The BlueSky GPS Firewall includes a broad range of data validation rules based on real, live-sky GPS threats, both intentional and unintentional. Similar to network security threats, new GPS vulnerabilities are on the rise and Microsemi is continuously tracking GPS signal manipulation including spoofing threats, jamming attacks, multipath signal interference, atmospheric activity and many other issues that can create GPS signal anomalies, disruptions and outages.

These advancements are incorporated into the software platform of the BlueSky GPS Firewall, which can be updated remotely using Microsemi’s TimePictra management system.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxMxmS0eEcY

GPS Dependency

The dependency on PNT is increasingly important to critical infrastructure sectors such as telecommunications, energy, transportation, emergency services, financial services and enterprise infrastructure, and is mainly provided through GPS.

“Worldwide critical infrastructure dependency on unprotected GPS receivers is a serious security risk. These receivers are susceptible to jamming and spoofing incidents and the industry recognizes this as an increasing threat,” said Randy Brudzinski, vice president and business unit manager of Microsemi’s Frequency and Time division. “The vast number of GPS systems already in operation means a significant investment would be required if every system was to be replaced. Microsemi’s BlueSky GPS Firewall is a cost-effective and easy-to-deploy solution to protect GPS without requiring replacement of deployed GPS systems.”

Published best-practice documents by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) describe steps that can be taken to mitigate outages and disruptions with GPS reception. In alignment with these documents, Microsemi’s new BlueSky GPS Firewall provides critical infrastructure sectors with a first line of defense against GPS threats to help build out a secure, robust and resilient PNT platform for their infrastructures.

According to the 2017 GNSS Market Report, Issue 5, by the European GNSS Agency, professional market segments such as maritime, rail, telecom/utility/enterprise, surveying, aviation, agriculture and drones which use GNSS devices to operate their infrastructures, enable billions of people globally to benefit from them on a day-to-day basis—whether by enjoying the produce of sustainable and cost-effective agriculture, by using efficiently coordinated transport networks, or by leveraging on GNSS-synchronized telecommunications networks. The total installed base of GNSS devices in these professional segments was estimated at 14.4 million units in 2015 and is expected to grow to 97.8 million units by 2025.

About the Author:


Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006, and also is editor of GPS World’s sister website, Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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