DarkReading | Car-Hacking Prototype Passes Crash Test

April 06, 2015

Dark Reading's Executive Editor, Kelly Jackson Higgins, covers Mission Secure's innovative work on protecting cars and vehicles from being hacked.

Sensor-based technology--with military drone roots--created to detect and automatically stop cyberattacks on cars.

Technology initially created for protecting US military unmanned aerial vehicles--aka drones--from cyberattacks soon will be available to help protect cars from hacking as well.

Researchers from the University of Virginia and Perrone Robotics recently completed a pilot track-test of cyberattacks on vehicles using prototype sensor technology from startup Mission Secure Inc. (MSi). They simulated cyberattacks on cars that attempted to take over the braking, acceleration, and collision avoidance features of the vehicles. Perrone provided the autonomous ground vehicles for the track tests, which implemented MSi's sensors in the vehicles to detect and stop the cyber-sabotage of the cars.

The technology basically monitors for anomalous behavior by a car's automated functions, and automatically corrects, for example, any malicious acceleration activity. It's based on research and technology by UVA and the Department of Defense for protecting UAVs, which MSi in turn is developing into a commercial product for the auto industry called Secure Sentinal.

As part of the test pilot, the researchers programmed a wireless key FOB to trigger the cyber attacks on the unmanned cars, which were tested both with and without MSi's prototype sensors. The sensors were able to detect the attacks on those functions and automatically take back control of the vehicle function under attack.


MSi plans to roll out a commercial version of the so-called Secure Sentinal product sometime next year, says David Drescher, CEO of Charlottesville, Va.-based startup.  "Like seat belts and airbags, this would be a standard security feature" in future cars, he says. Secure Sentinal sensors are 3-inch by 3-inch, self-contained processors that ultimately will communicate via the car's CANbus network and also have the option to communicate wirelessly to a Secure Sentinal management console.

Check out the full article on DarkReading!

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