Call for Papers: Workshop on the Security of Space and Satellite Systems

[Page updated 9 January]

Novel mega-constellations in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), including those of Starlink, OneWeb and others, will see over 100,000 satellites in space over the next several years. They will increasingly fulfill communication functions in both consumer settings and critical infrastructures. These critical functions, ranging from global navigation and positioning systems to providing phone connections, imaging data and general-purpose data links, play an ever more crucial role in modern society. The precarious place of satellite systems in the communication and navigation infrastructure naturally makes them attractive targets for cyber attacks. This was evidenced in a major attack on the ViaSat network during the initial days of the war in Ukraine and ongoing disruptions of GlobalNavigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) around the world.

The principal vulnerability of satellite systems has been known publicly since the mid-2000s due to multiple discussions at academic and hacker conferences. Despite these early warnings, recent evidence shows that the security of both legacy and novel deployments is still severely lacking. Recent publications at several major security venues generated much renewed interest and illustrated that the same problems remain — now on a much larger scale. Clearly, many insights from the computer and network security communities have never been applied to space systems, urgently requiring action informed by research. Following other successful workshops on critical (transportation) infrastructures, we hold SpaceSec, the first academic workshop dedicated exclusively to security in the space and satellite ecosystems.

SpaceSec will bring together academic researchers, industry professionals, and government representatives to contribute to new theories, technologies, and systems for security/privacy challenges in space and on the ground. SpaceSec will be held in a hybrid fashion in conjunction with the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS) 2023.

The workshop will be held in San Diego, CA, preceding the Network and Distributed Systems Symposium (NDSS) 2023.

List of Topics

The scope of SpaceSec comprises all systems that are directly or indirectly related to or dependent on space and satellite systems. More concretely, this includes the communication links (satellite – ground, satellite – satellite), the ground segment (including ground stations, systems dependent on satellite communications), and the space segment (i.e. satellites and launch vehicles) as well as all potential use cases (e.g., imaging or navigation) and dependencies of satellite applications. All space orbits are of interest but in particular research into modern low-Earth orbit LEO mega constellations is invited.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • (Secure) Routing in LEO constellations.
  • Localization in satellite networks.
  • Attacks and defenses on GNSS.
  • Ground segment attacks and vulnerabilities (modems, service networks).
  • Wireless jamming and spoofing of satellite links.
  • Secure intra-satellite communication, specifically optical communication.
  • Privacy issues in satellite communication.
  • Security analysis of legacy space systems.
  • CubeSat security.
  • Security of launch vehicles and launch processes.
  • Secure and performant satellite communications (PEPs, QUIC etc.)
  • (Post-quantum) cryptographic primitives for wireless and mobile security in space.
  • Secure software/hardware development, e.g., debugging tools, emulators, testbeds.
  • Measurement infrastructure, data collection and datasets.
  • Data-driven security and privacy attacks and countermeasures.
  • Economics of space security.
  • Key management for satellite and space systems, in particular LEO.
  • Reverse engineering of and tampering with air and ground segments.
  • Side-channel and fault attacks on satellite and modem devices.

Submission Guidelines

All papers must be original and not simultaneously submitted to another journal or conference. The following paper types are welcome:

Short Paper: Submissions must be no longer than four pages. Short papers should provide enough context and background for the reader to understand the contribution. We envision that short papers will be preliminary work type papers, but this is not a hard requirement.

Long Paper: Submissions must be no longer than eight pages. These are typically traditional research papers.

All papers are to be submitted in double-column NDSS format. The page limits do not include bibliography and well-marked appendices, which can be up to 2 pages long for each long paper and up to 1 page long for each short paper.

Submission link

Inspired by the CSET workshop, we invite the following paper categories. There is no requirement to mark them as such but we expect that extended work papers are clearly positioned and set apart against prior work:

  • Research Paper: make a novel contribution in line with one of the topics of interest.
  • Position Paper: discuss new or provocative security-related ideas of interest to the satellite and space communities.
  • Experience Paper: describe activities and recount lessons learned (e.g., from experiments or deployments) that might help researchers and practitioners in the future.
  • Preliminary Work Paper: describe early results from interesting and new ideas. We anticipate that such works-in-progress papers may eventually be extended as full papers for publication at a conference.
  • Extended Work Paper: expand upon unpublished aspects of a previous work (published in any venue) fitting into any of the topics of interest. We welcome papers that provide a compelling addition to a previously developed approach, method, tool, measurement, benchmark, data set, simulation/emulation, evaluation results, etc.

Anonymization and the Review Process: The review process will be double-blind; all submissions should be anonymized so as not to reveal the authors’ names or affiliations during the review process.

Publication: SpaceSec23 proceedings will be published as post-conference proceedings with the Network and Distributed Systems Symposium (NDSS) 2023.

Further Notes: At least one author from every accepted paper must register for the workshop and present the paper. Fraud and dishonesty are prohibited, including: simultaneous submission of the same work to multiple venues, submission of previously published work, and plagiarism. 

Important Dates

  • Paper Submission Deadline: 13 January 2023 (AoE)
  • Notification of Acceptance: 3 February 2023 (AoE)
  • Workshop Date: 27 February 2023, 8.30am (Pacific Standard Time)
  • Camera Ready Submission: 17 March 2023 (AoE)

Program Co-Chairs

  • Martin Strohmeier, Cyber-Defence Campus, armasuisse W+T (Switzerland)
  • Johannes Willbold, Ruhr University Bochum (Germany)

Program Committee

  • Ali Abbasi, CISPA (Germany)
  • Brandon Bailey, Aerospace Corp (US)
  • Gregory Falco, Johns Hopkins University (US)
  • Knut Eckstein, European Space Agency (Europe)
  • Thorsten Holz, CISPA (Germany)
  • Vincent Lenders, Cyber-Defence Campus, armasuisse W+T (Switzerland)
  • Ivan Martinovic, University of Oxford (UK)
  • James Pavur, Defense Digital Service, Department of Defense (US)
  • Christina Pöpper, NYU Abu Dhabi (UAE)
  • Aanjhan Ranganathan, Northeastern University (US)
  • Harshad Sathaye, Northeastern University (US)
  • Verena Zimmermann, ETH Zurich (Switzerland)


All questions about submissions should be emailed to [email protected]