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Security for Critical Systems

Posted by: data61

February 2, 2015

Did you know cars, insulin pumps and heart defibrillators have been attacked by cyber hackers?

Critical systems, such as aircraft, vehicles, medical devices and industrial control systems, are becoming increasingly dependent on software for functionality and are being produced with more complex functions.

This lends greater opportunities to hackers to target vulnerabilities that could threaten the safety and reliability of a system. Critical systems must perform their  functions at all times. It would be disastrous, for example, if a plane stopped flying or if a medical device stopped functioning. Defence assets are particularly targeted by cyber attackers and as such need to be able to perform their critical functions even in the face of these attacks.

Data61 is creating new software components and tools for the design and implementation of critical systems to make them safer, more reliable and more secure.

Data61 is working with Rockwell Collins and other collaborators on the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) High Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) Program to develop a complete, formally proven architecture to protect the control and communication systems of an aerial vehicle from compromise from faults and targeted attacks.

As part of the program, the high assurance systems built in the project is subjected to ‘white box’ attacks by an expert ‘red team’, to test their robustness. White box attacks are attempts to penetrate a system by teams with complete knowledge of their target to expose any security flaws so that they can be addressed.

The overall objective of the DARPA HACMS program is to raise the bar on how critical software-controlled hardware systems are built. It is expected that that the outcomes of this work will benefit other industries that rely on critical systems including in motor vehicles, medical devices and aircraft.

Download the Security for Critical Systems brochure.

For more information on this project visit the SMACCM Project page.