A new joint Lab with Gorgy Timing

The FAST-LAB -- Certified And Secure Time and frequency transfer -- common laboratory project aims at promoting and shaping the interest of the FEMTO-ST institute and the company Gorgy Timing for developing secure and certified time dissemination systems.  Time dissemination has become a requirement for current interactions in a society meeting increased timing pressure in its exchanges. Improving accuracy, traceability and safety has become mandatory for the time references clocking today's rail and air traffic, or in the context of distributed energy production in the context of smart grids. Similarly, we address secure timestamping financial transactions -- with Europe being the first institution to draft a law governing such activities with a time reference (MIFID2) -- as well as synchronizing distributed power generation and high bandwidth communication networks. In these 3 examples, the core information is ``time'' and, within the current deployment framework, security and tracking the timestamp information is only beginning. 

The broad range of time sources, including historical Very Low Frequency (VLF) sources which are currently neglected considering the ease of use of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) networks, provides means of reducing jamming and spoofing risks. Safety of these critical timing services becomes a need that we address by securing the timestamp exchange (using cryptography and two way interactions between clocks exchanging messages). Making the best use of the sources of time and means of accessing these time representations are on the one hand addressed by combining multiple commercially available sources (GNSS, quartz oscillators) and on the other hand by developing dedicated systems meeting the unique requirements of redundancy (flexible software defined radio receivers able to adapt to jamming sources, composite sources dedicated to time transfer applications, time transfer over optical fibers such as White Rabbit). 

In this context, securing timestamp servers becomes a mandatory requirement, both against classical technical sources of technical failure and vulnerability as well as against attacks focusing on semantics of secure time data and their spoofing. 

Gorgy Timing is an innovative family SME, dedicated to time transfer. Providing solution for time dissemination, the company is a European leader by developing tools for secure, certified, precise and traceable UTC time diffusion on a network reaching the customer with an accuracy ranging from the millisecond to the nanosecond. In the framework of these innovations, the company Gorgy Timing wishes to enhance its research and development capabilities on secure time and frequency dissemination with the FEMTO-ST institute -- UMR6174. FEMTO-ST, through its Time and Frequency department, exhibits a long and internationally recognized expertise in characterizing and generating ultra-stable frequency signals. Digital signal processing techniques applied to radiofrequency (RF) signals, derived from software defined radio techniques, for characterizing time and spectral characteristics of oscillators provide the opportunity to bridge the fields of interests of the two partners. FEMTO-ST also provides expertise in the field of cybersecurity through the security test team of the Computer Science department (DISC), hence providing a synergy on the research topics ranging from time-frequency to software security.

Contact: jmfriedt@femto-st.frfrancois.meyer@obs-besancon.frblegeard@femto-st.fr