Major step towards cybersecuring AIS

This week at the Nor-shipping show in Oslo, Saab has introduced new measures to secure Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and Navigation system against malicious hacking attempts.  On board ships, AIS transponders regularly transmit a ship’s position along with its identification. This benefits the ships around them and interested parties on shore. Together with partner Orolia, supplying the M-SecureSync solution, Saab now offer advanced protection against jamming/spoofing time and position information.

AIS of critical importance for shipping

AIS systems around the world rely on one or more Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) to determine a ship’s position. These signals can be jammed or spoofed, resulting in no or false position reports. It is easy to imagine how this can cause safety risks for ships, especially in poor visibility conditions or when traffic is very busy.

The M-SecureSync system analyses the incoming position signals to detect and resist attacks that might compromise signal integrity. Potential issues are reported to the navigation system, which in turn signals the user display to warn for potential issues. 

How does it work?

The system includes multiple layers of security:

  • The timing signals from the satellites are compared with an ultra-precise time source to detect discrepancies.
  • By incorporating BroadShield, a complex suite of radio frequency analysing algorithms, M-SecureSync can detect interference, intentional jamming and advanced spoofing signals that could weaken, block or compromise critical navigation signals.
  • At the very high end, a new alternative position signal, STL, transmitted from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, provides an encrypted, spoofing resistant signal that is 1000 times stronger than a regular GPS signal. This subscription-based component can be activated if vessel crew believe GNSS navigation signals have been compromised.
  • A special single element anti-jam antenna can be used that rejects interference signals from lower elevations, from where most jamming and spoofing signals originate.  In effect, this antenna looks more up into the sky where the signal from satellites originate blocking the interference from near the horizon

This development is part of Saab’s commitment to cyber security for critical infrastructure. For more information, contact the Saab sales team support.transpondertech@saabgroup.com.