UVAToday | In the Driver’s Seat: U.Va. and State Police Partner to Prevent Car Hacking


University of Virginia's UVAToday covers Mission Secure and its work on securing automobiles and the automotive industry from cyber threats. As part of a public-private working group initiated by the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, Mission Secure contributes its cybersecurity expertise as it partners with government and research bodies to mitigate and protect against the cyber risks targeting automobiles.

"On Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a public-private working group to address the threat of automotive hacking. The University of Virginia, the Virginia State Police and the Charlottesville security firm Mission Secure Inc. will play key roles in conducting this joint research project between various government agencies and private firms.

McAuliffe appointed Barry Horowitz, professor and chair of U.Va.’s Department of Systems and Information Engineering, as a member of the Virginia Cyber Security Commission in 2014, and Horowitz will help oversee the new research project.

“The motivation has been that more and more in your everyday life you see that we’re automating physical systems,” Horowitz said. “And unlike an information system, a physical system could kill you by accident.”

In 2012, Horowitz was part of a Department of Defense-funded research team that began identifying ways to protect unmanned aerial vehicles from cyber attacks on their controls. During that project, he and his fellow researchers realized that there were broader applications for their work. Together with U.Va.’s Licensing and Venture Group, they founded Mission Secure as a way to address threats to a variety of automated physical systems.

Mission Secure’s goal is to create a monitoring system that allows critical physical systems – like the vehicles used by the defense, energy and transportation industries – to keep working during a cyber attack.

 

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