Unifly, a Terra Drone Corporation group company and a leading provider of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems, proudly announces the successful completion of the Unified UTM Cybersecurity Model project, granted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Broad Agency Announcement call 003. In partnership with the Rhea Group and NY UAS Test Site, the project aims to refine a UTM cybersecurity model, including the requirements and certification scheme, and to validate the model in an operational environment.
With the drone industry’s rapid growth, ensuring the safety and security of our airspace is more important than ever. UTM systems have a big responsibility in this regard. The key characteristics of UTM systems – software-based, highly automated, and relatively recent – make them an attractive target for cyberattacks that exploit vulnerabilities, threatening aviation safety, the privacy of airspace users, and business operations. No comprehensive approach to system requirements, and much less a unified certification scheme, has been developed to assess and validate cybersecurity for UTM systems. These gaps have triggered an urgent need for an updated security framework.
In the initial phase of the project, interviews were conducted with the following stakeholders from the UTM ecosystem:
- FAA ATO (Federal Aviation Administration – Air Traffic Organization)
- NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
- CNA (The National Security Analysis)
- Nav Canada (The Air Navigation Service Provider of Canada)
- DroneUp (Drone Delivery Service Provider)
Alongside this input, the project team refined the system requirements and the security controls for the updated prototype model. The extensive validation process comprised over 60 actual flights in diverse operational environments at the NY Test site in Syracuse, utilizing Unifly’s Broadcast Location and Identification device (BLIP). These flights encompassed three scenarios: operations under optimal conditions, operations subjected to simulated attacks, and operations with countermeasures against such attacks.
Several reports containing findings and best practices have been delivered, which will serve as a baseline for future cybersecurity framework development. The results of this project will not only benefit the UTM industry but also various stakeholders, including drone operators, regulators, and the public, by ensuring the safety and privacy of all airspace users. By implementing advanced cybersecurity measures, we can all have peace of mind, knowing that our airspace is secure. Unifly is dedicated to partnering with industry leaders to advance drone safety.