Seminars

Spotting and stopping the spectrum saboteurs

A new research project has been launched with the aim of developing a system for detecting threats to the electromagnetic space. Led by IMDEA Networks Institute (a networking research organization based in Madrid, Spain), the SOCRATES project has recently been awarded funding by NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division – Science for Peace and Security Programme (SPS). The two other collaborating partners on the project are the ElectroSense non-profit association of Switzerland (a crowd-sourcing initiative that collects and analyses spectrum data) and Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven of Belgium. Their work will be concluded by May 2021.

In the 21st century, the security of the electromagnetic spectrum has tremendous strategic importance to society. In particular, the wireless infrastructure that carries services such as cellular networks and GPS is especially critical. However, the cost of commodity radio technology prices is now so low that access to it is no longer restricted to governments and network operators. It is now affordable to individuals, giving them the potential to become malicious intruders. More frequent and more sophisticated threats from such infiltrators could wreak havoc and are among the most serious challenges faced by society. Unauthorized transmissions could threaten the operation of networks used by air traffic control systems, police, security and emergency services, for example. The SOCRATES project will deliver a security system to protect our electromagnetic environment and the services and users that depend upon it.

By providing the capability to detect, identify and locate potential threats to electromagnetic infrastructure security, SÓCRATES (Large Scale Collaborative Detection and Location of Threats in the Electromagnetic Space, Grant G5461) represents an important step in ensuring society’s readiness to respond effectively to them. SOCRATES will shield economic and social structures from those who would harm them.

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