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Spain: Cyber Security Project Socrates to Spot and Eliminate Threats to the Electromagnetic Spectrum

| Editor: Alexander Stark

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, the Socrates project has recently been awarded funding by Nato’s Emerging Security Challenges Division — Science for Peace and Security Programme (SPS).

A new research project has been launched with the aim of developing a system for detecting threats to the electromagnetic space.
A new research project has been launched with the aim of developing a system for detecting threats to the electromagnetic space.
(Source: Pixabay / CC0 )

Madrid/Spain — 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 is to deliver a security system to protect our electromagnetic environment and the services and users that depend upon it.

Socrates is to provide an accurate, autonomous, fast and secure system based on a novel and disruptive IoT (Internet of Things) architecture. By detecting and locating unusual RF signal and source activity it will identify intruders in the electromagnetic space, before a threat can become serious, learning about its physical layer features and its geographic location.

The Socrates solution will need to be suitable for real-world implementations. The team plans to test the system in controlled and realistic conditions, operating in both licensed and unlicensed spectra. Real experiments will showcase the system’s ability to detect the waveforms and wireless technologies of adversaries who are misusing wireless resources. They’ll also demonstrate how the physical location of an intruder can be swiftly identified. Adopting an agile approach, the researchers will build, demonstrate and showcase early prototypes throughout the project.

The two other collaborating partners on the project are the Electro Sense 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.

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