Satellite Communication (SATCOM) Security Assurance

IOActive provides specialized services to evaluate the security posture of SATCOM Ground Segment technologies. We have developed a series of methodologies to assess the security posture of satellite terminals, from black, gray, and white box approaches.


Earth Station Services

  • Physical layer analysis / RF security
  • Analysis of cryptographic implementations
  • Core firmware reverse engineering and source code review
  • DSP firmware reverse engineering and source code review
  • Intra-board communications
  • Hardware components and protection measures
  • Management interface analysis and firmware upgrade on block up/ down converters
  • Inertial measurement unit and/ or inertial navigation systems
  • Pointing algorithm analysis
  • Motor control unit

Ship Earth Stations - Above Deck Equipment / Antenna Unit

  • Wired communication (i.e., CAN, RS485, RS422)
  • Firmware updates
  • Base-band analysis

Ship Earth Stations - Below Deck Equipment / Antenna Control Unit (ACU)

  • Administration and management interfaces
  • Wired communication (CAN, USB, UART, Ethernet)
  • Analysis of Inmarsat-C data polling and reporting custom implementations

Aircraft Earth Stations - Above Cockpit Unit

  • Antenna Control Unit (ACU)
  • Wired communications
  • Firmware updates
  • Motor control unit

Aircraft Earth Stations - Below Cockpit Unit

  • Satellite Data Unit (SDU)/ SwiftBroadBand Unit (SBU)
    • RTOS security analysis
    • Inter-device communications (ARINC 429/ 629/ 664)
    • Firmware updates
    • Maintenance, configuration and administration interfaces


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A Wake-up Call for SATCOM Security focuses on the vital role Satellite Communications (SATCOM) play in the global telecommunications system. This research discusses the vulnerabilities and design flaws in the current generation of SATCOM technology and identifies risks for sectors that rely on this technology, including Aerospace and Maritime transportation.