UAVsMore cyber-secure UAVs

Published 18 September 2012

The software that runs complex military systems such as UAVs contains tens of thousands of lines of code; this code is designed by human beings, and human beings make mistakes; DARPA wants military systems to be run by fail-safe software, ad for this purpose has created the High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program; Rockwell Collins has been selected as the prime contractor for the unmanned air vehicle portion of the HACMS

Rockwell Collins has been selected as the prime contractor for the unmanned air vehicle portion of the High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The four-and-half-year contract calls for Rockwell Collins to develop cyber security solutions for unmanned air vehicles, with applicability to other network-enabled military vehicles.

John Borghese, vice president of the Rockwell Collins Advanced Technology Center, said the company’s expertise in security certification of complex systems and the use of formal methods was a key in acquiring the contract. Formal methods are the application of rigorous mathematical reasoning and advanced analysis tools to prove relevant properties about a system.

“Making sure software is designed correctly from the beginning is paramount to guarantee the security of military computing platforms,” added Borghese.

Rockwell Collins is leading a team that includes Boeing, Galois, National ICT Australia (NICTA), and the University of Minnesota.

The goal of the HACMS program is to create technology for the construction of high-assurance cyber-physical systems. These systems must be functionally correct and satisfy appropriate safety and security properties. Achieving this goal requires a fundamentally different approach from what the software community has taken to date. Consequently, DARPA notes, HACMS will adopt a clean-slate, formal methods-based approach to enable semi-automated code synthesis from executable, formal specifications.