Air Cyber Power and ADS-B Vulnerabilities

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Exploring Potential ADS-B Vulnerabilities in The FAA NEXTGEN Air Transportation System
The Fog of a “Cyber” War

“It is late fall 2025; Al Qaeda sleeper cells target the disruption of airline traffic into multiple East coast airports during the busy travel season from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
ADS-B IN/OUT has been fully implemented by the FAA; all commercial airlines have invested heavily to comply with the mandate. Oil prices are at an all time high and flights are carrying minimal fuel loads to save money and offset the cost of avionics.

The goal: force multiple airplanes to divert; pilots, FAA controllers and passengers to lose faith in the system; and possibly cause enough chaos to the NAS system that a few lives are lost.

The plan: exploit the U.S. dependency on ADS-B IN/OUT and GPS for arrivals into busy airports, especially during low visibility conditions.

The teams: five two man teams have been put into play for the mission. They are provided with all the commercially available technology they will need, along with a few modified laptop computers, antennas and transmitters.

The targets: Regan National, Dulles, La Guardia, JFK and Philadelphia International airports. The terrorists have been tasked to park minivans with computers containing modified software that are coupled to ADS-B OUT transmitters. The software is designed to be remotely activated and controlled over an Internet connection. Each computer is programmed specifically for the targeted airport, and transmits 978MHz and 1090MHz signals out a boosted transmitter.

As a result, airlines on final approach will receive false targets on their displays. The terrorists ghost target injects also propagate to the FAA controller’s screens. The terrorists intended these spoofed targets, programmed at conflicting arrival and departure corridors as well as in runway incursion situations, to cause multiple airports to become temporarily unusable. The resulting domino effect causes aircraft diversions and delays that will lead to chaos.”

DONALD L. McCALLIE
Major, USAF
Degree of Master of Cyber Warfare
Air Force Institute of Technology
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA

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USAF Cyberspace Operations Doctrine Document – AFDD 3-12

USAF Cyberspace Operations Doctrine Document - AFDD 3-12AFDD 3-12 is the US Air Force’s foundational doctrine publication for Air Force operations in, through, and from the cyberspace domain. It defines Cyberspace Superiority and speaks to US Air Force support of maintaining Cyberspace Superiority, a common military function.

“Today, we live in a globally-networked society that is increasingly dependent upon cyberspace access and security. Our ability to gain and maintain superiority in cyberspace has become essential to our ability to deliver global reach, power, and vigilance. As an integral member of the joint warfighting team, the Air Force is committed to growing, sustaining, and presenting highly skilled and well-equipped forces to joint force commanders who can deliver decisive effects in, from, and through cyberspace, while assuring our mission against an asymmetric cyber threat.

Freedom of action in the cyberspace domain enables our command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Our modern defenses, industrial base, and global commerce, as well as that of our nation’s enemies, depend on free use of land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. Leverage in cyberspace affords influence and control across all other domains. This leverage increases our forces’ access, speed, reach, stealth, and precision.

Controlling the portions of cyberspace integral to our mission is a fundamental prerequisite to effective operations across the range of military operations. While we appreciate the power that cyber-enabled capabilities add, we also maintain a healthy respect for the asymmetric power that cyberspace affords our adversaries. We must maintain a constant commitment to educate, train, and equip our Airman to prevail in the contested domain of cyberspace.

In the past decade, technological advances have provided the means to generate decisive and magnified effects in domains that traditionally could only be achieved via kinetic means. We must continually adapt our operating concepts to leverage emerging cyberspace capabilities to ensure the Air Force maintains the decisive advantage over our adversaries.”

MAURICE H. FORSYTH
Major General, USAF
Commander, LeMay Center for Doctrine
Development and Education

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Spies Against Armageddon

Spies Against ArmageddonA powerful, vivid history of Israel's intelligence services from the country's independence in 1948, right up to Stuxnet and the current Middle East crises, describing the roots of both the triumphs and the screw-ups. Chapter 1 is titled “Stopping Iran,” focused on nuclear threats, and then readers are taken through the entire history.

Price: $16.99

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Cyberpower and National Security (National Defense University)

Cyberpower and National Security (National Defense University)The cyber domain is undergoing extraordinary changes that present both exceptional opportunities to and major challenges for users of cyberspace. The challenges arise from the malevolent actors who use cyberspace and the many security vulnerabilities that plague this sphere. Exploiting opportunities and overcoming challenges will require a balanced body of knowledge on the cyber domain. Cyberpower and National Security assembles a group of experts and discusses pertinent issues in five areas.

The first section provides a broad foundation and overview of the subject by identifying key policy issues, establishing a common vocabulary, and proposing an initial version of a theory of cyberpower. The second section identifies and explores possible changes in cyberspace over the next fifteen years by assessing cyber infrastructure and security challenges. The third section analyzes the potential impact of changes in cyberspace on the military and informational levers of power. The fourth section addresses the extent to which changes in cyberspace serve to empower key entities such as transnational criminals, terrorists, and nation-states. The final section examines key institutional factors, which include issues concerning governance, legal dimensions, critical infrastructure protection, and organization.

Cyberpower and National Security frames the key issues concerned and identifies the important questions involved in building the human capacity to address cyber issues, balancing civil liberties with national security considerations, and developing the international partnerships needed to address cyber challenges. With more than two dozen contributors, Cyberpower and National Security covers it all.

Price: $39.95

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National Defense Strategy – United States of America

National Defense Strategy - United States of AmericaThe United States, our allies, and our partners face a spectrum of challenges, including violent transnational extremist networks, hostile states armed with weapons of mass destruction, rising regional powers, emerging space and cyber threats, natural and pandemic disasters, and a growing competition for resources. The Department of Defense must respond to these challenges while anticipating and preparing for those of tomorrow. We must balance strategic risk across our responses, making the best use of the tools at hand within the U.S. Government and among our international partners. To succeed, we must harness and integrate all aspects of national power and work closely with a wide range of allies, friends and partners. We cannot prevail if we act alone.

As noted in the 2006 QDR, state actors no longer have a monopoly over the catastrophic use of violence. Small groups or individuals can harness chemical, biological, or even crude radiological or nuclear devices to cause extensive damage and harm. Similarly, they can attack vulnerable points in cyberspace and disrupt commerce and daily life in the United States, causing economic damage, compromising sensitive information and materials, and interrupting critical services such as power and information networks. National security and domestic resources may be at risk, and the Department must help respond to protect lives and national assets. The Department will continue to be both bulwark and active protector in these areas. Yet, in the long run the Department of Defense is neither the best source of resources and capabilities nor the appropriate authority to shoulder these tasks. The comparative advantage, and applicable authorities, for action reside elsewhere in the U.S. Government, at other levels of government, in the private sector, and with partner nations. DoD should expect and plan to play a key supporting role in an interagency effort to combat these threats, and to help develop new capacities and capabilities, while protecting its own vulnerabilities.

In the contemporary strategic environment, the challenge is one of deterring or dissuading a range of potential adversaries from taking a variety of actions against the U.S. and our allies and interests. These adversaries could be states or non-state actors; they could use nuclear, conventional, or unconventional weapons; and they could exploit terrorism, electronic, cyber and other forms of warfare. Economic interdependence and the growth of global communications further complicate the situation. Not only do they blur the types of threats, they also exacerbate sensitivity to the effects of attacks and in some cases make it more difficult to attribute or trace them. Finally, the number of potential adversaries, the breadth of their capabilities, and the need to design approaches to deterrence for each, create new challenges.

An underlying assumption in our understanding of the strategic environment is that the predominant near-term challenges to the United States will come from state and non-state actors using irregular and catastrophic capabilities. Although our advanced space and cyber-space assets give us unparalleled advantages on the traditional battlefield, they also entail vulnerabilities.

China is developing technologies to disrupt our traditional advantages. Examples include development of anti-satellite capabilities and cyber warfare. Other actors, particularly non-state actors, are developing asymmetric tactics, techniques, and procedures that seek to avoid situations where our advantages come into play.

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