Optical Satellite Eavesdropping

Creative Commons License

Ben Yahia O., ERDOĞAN E., Kurt G. K., Altunbaş İ., Yanikomeroglu H.

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON VEHICULAR TECHNOLOGY, vol.71, no.9, pp.10126-10131, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 71 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/tvt.2022.3176119
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, Environment Index, INSPEC, Metadex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.10126-10131
  • Keywords: Eavesdropping, Satellites, Space vehicles, Laser beams, Low earth orbit satellites, Fading channels, Optical receivers, Free-space optical, high altitude platform station, physical layer security, satellite eavesdropping, HIGH-ALTITUDE PLATFORMS, PERFORMANCE, NETWORKS, COMMUNICATION, TURBULENCE
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In recent years, satellite communication (SatCom) systems have been widely used for navigation, broadcasting application, disaster recovery, weather sensing, and even spying on the Earth. As the number of satellites is highly increasing and with the radical revolution in wireless technology, eavesdropping on SatCom will be possible in next-generation networks. In this context, we introduce the satellite eavesdropping approach, where an eavesdropping spacecraft can intercept optical communications established between a low Earth orbit satellite and a high altitude platform station (HAPS). Specifically, we propose two practical eavesdropping scenarios for satellite-to-HAPS (downlink) and HAPS-to-satellite (uplink) optical communications, where the attacker spacecraft can eavesdrop on the transmitted signal or the received signal. To quantify the secrecy performance of the scenarios, the average secrecy capacity and secrecy outage probability expressions are derived and validated with Monte Carlo simulations. Moreover, the secrecy throughput of the proposed models is investigated. We observe that turbulence-induced fading significantly impacts the secrecy performance of free-space optical communication.