GPS revolutionized the world with its ability to provide accurate and cost-effective positioning, navigation and timing (PNT), yet its rapid adoption has caused critical infrastructure sectors to be overly dependent upon the satellite-based system. The signals transmitted from GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellations can be a threat vector, which, if disrupted, could harm key critical infrastructure sectors including telecommunications, energy, transportation, emergency services and data centers. The susceptibilities of the GPS signal to attack, whether intentional or not, are viewed similarly as a cybersecurity threat. In recent months, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of reported GPS incidents, causing critical infrastructure providers to evaluate the security, reliability and resiliency of their GPS-based PNT dependency.
The new BlueSky GNSS Firewall from Microsemi Corporation enables critical infrastructure providers to harden the security of their operations from GPS threats and deliver a more reliable and secure service. The security-hardened system provides protection against GPS threats such as jamming, spoofing and complete outage. It also supports a range of precision timing technologies, including atomic clocks, to enable continuous operation when GPS may be completely denied for extended periods. In addition, Microsemi is expanding the GNSS portfolio with the introduction of a BlueSky option to its TimePictra software management suite, providing centralized control and visibility of GPS reception across regional, national and global geographic areas.
“At last year’s ION GNSS+ show we launched the BlueSky GPS Firewall Evaluation Kit to help customers understand GNSS vulnerabilities and how a firewall approach could provide protection,” said Randy Brudzinski, vice president and manager of Microsemi's Frequency and Timing business unit. “We received valuable feedback from customers as a result of those evaluations and have incorporated new features in our second-generation BlueSky GNSS Firewall. In addition to expanded monitoring and reporting capabilities, this robust, future-proof platform is now equipped with atomic clock technology to provide security-hardened resiliency, including the ability to operate in a GNSS-denied environment for more than 30 days.”
Microsemi has applied the same principles of a firewall used for network security to defend against GPS threats coming from the sky. Within the new BlueSky GNSS Firewall, the incoming GPS signal is analyzed in real time to detect a wide range of threats before connected GPS receivers and related systems are affected. The BlueSky GNSS Firewall incorporates an optional internal rubidium Miniature Atomic Clock (MAC) enabling continuous output of the GPS signal to the downstream GPS receiver in case of complete loss of live sky GPS reception. Alternatively, Microsemi’s cesium clocks, such as the 5071A or TimeCesium 4400/4500, can be connected to the device, enabling UTC traceable time for more than 30 days.
Microsemi’s BlueSky GPS Firewall platform features optional BlueSky software incorporated into its TimePictra management system. To ensure the BlueSky GNSS Firewall is equipped to defend against an ever-evolving threat, Microsemi updates and continuously tracks GPS signal manipulation, spoofing threats, jamming attacks, multipath signal interference, atmospheric activity and many other issues which can create GPS signal anomalies, disruptions and outages. These updates are available through a BlueSky subscription service.