US DARPA AGENCY UNVEILS HACK-PROOF DRONE

FoxNews on May 22, 2014, published a Military.com report that the Pentagon’s research arm unveiled a new drone built with secure software that prevents the control and navigation of the aircraft from being hacked. Excerpts below:

The program, called High Assurance Cyber Military Systems, or HACMS, uses software designed to thwart cyber attacks. It has been underway with the Defense Advance Research Project Agency for several years after originating at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Washington, said Kathleen Fischer, HACMS program manager for DARPA.

“The software is designed to make sure a hacker cannot take over control of a UAS. The software is mathematically proven to be invulnerable to large classes of attack,” Fisher said.

The mini drone is engineered with mathematically assured software making it invulnerable to cyber attack.

“We started out with the observation that many vehicles are easy for malicious hackers to tamper with the software and take control remotely. We’ve replaced all the software with our high assurance software that was developed using the tools and techniques that were invented in the program,” Fisher said.

The drone prototype was among more than 100 projects and 29 advanced research programs on display in the Pentagon’s courtyard Wednesday in what was billed as DARPA Demo Day.

Vulnerabilities or security issues can arise when drones or other military aircraft are “networked” to one another such that they can share information in real time. Security risks can emerge through network protocols, software bugs or unintended interactions between otherwise correct components, DARPA officials explained.

The software tools used for the HACMS program can be adjusted to larger platforms. In fact, DARPA plans to transition the secure software to Boeing’s Unmanned Little Bird helicopter, DARPA officials said.

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