ETSI Secures Critical Infrastructure Against Quantum Cyber Attacks with New Tetra Algorithms | VanillaMore
As the world faces increasing challenges, including war in Europe and a global energy crisis, it is critical that the mission-critical and business-critical communications networks used by public safety, infrastructure Essentials and utilities (including transportation, electricity, natural gas, and aquatic plants) are secured against third-party attacks, to protect communications and sensitive data. With more than 120 countries using dedicated Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) networks for these critical services, work has been undertaken to ensure that the ETSI TETRA technology standard remains robust in the face of evolving threats.
To adapt to technological innovations and potential cybersecurity attacks, including from quantum computers, the AND IF CITT technical committee has completed work on new algorithms designed to secure TETRA networks for at least the next 20 years. These new specifications ETSI TS 100 392-7 and ETSI TS 100 396-6 have been developed in close collaboration with experts from the ETSI quantum safe cryptography group.
This work was carried out with the support of CAGR, the worldwide representative organization responsible for improving the TETRA standard. The demand for TETRA technology will continue to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% during the forecast period 2021-2026, Omdia.
TETRA is widely used by public safety agencies around the world because, in addition to secure and resilient network communications, it also offers direct peer-to-peer critical communications without the need for a supporting network in situations such as natural disasters and emergencies. Nations want to deploy networks shared by all public safety organizations and first responders to fully interact with other services during emergencies and disasters. The transport market is also an important market for TETRA, in particular for Mass Rapid Transport systems, such as the London Underground network and the Paris metro network operated by RATP, and many major airports.
TETRA is a digital private mobile radio (PMR) and public access mobile radio (PAMR) technology for mission critical communications with a specific set of communication requirements. These include high reliability, single and group call capabilities, PTT (Push-To-Talk) and the ability for direct peer-to-peer communications. TETRA is optimized for medium to high capacity applications using time division multiple access (TDMA) technology.
Some TETRA PMR services include:
- Quick setup of extended calls Group calls “any network aware”
- Direct mode operation (DMO) allowing “back-to-back” communications between radio terminals independent of the network
- High level voice encryption to meet the security needs of public safety organizations
- An emergency call function that goes through even if the system is busy
- Full-duplex voice for PABX and PSTN telephone communications
“Keeping TETRA cryptography up to date with the latest cybersecurity algorithms is essential when you realize the variety of organizations and sensitive applications that TETRA systems serve. The European Parliament and the Commission, for example, use a TETRA system to protect their buildings and communication networks, a scenario in which a failure or compromise in security is unthinkable,” said Brian Murgatroyd, Chairman of the ETSI TCCE Committee.
“This upgrade to the TETRA standard confirms and reinforces the efforts of the TETRA industry community to support TETRA as the optimal critical communications technology for the long-term future,” said Francesco Pasquali, Group President. TCCA Industrial TETRA (TIG) and TCCA Crew Member. “Our commitment to maintaining TETRA’s exceptional and unparalleled level of security is essential, especially in an ever-changing and challenging environment where new cyber threats arise not only from isolated cybercrime actors, but also from organized hostile countries.”
“These new air interface encryption algorithms will support TETRA for the foreseeable future. They are designed to withstand brute force attacks beyond the year 2040 even if quantum computers become a viable means of attack, with new live key management algorithms and authentication keys to further strengthen security of the standard,” says Dave Chater-Léa, vice-president of the ETSI TCCE committee.
“It is also important to note that TETRA meets the demands of the military, and now more than ever, as there is both an increase in modern warfare technologies and a growing need for real-time information in operations. . At the same time, TETRA is essential for peacekeeping for the United Nations to improve the security of strategic and tactical communications,” said Jukka Vialen, Vice Chairman of the ETSI TCCE Committee.