Australians head to US to secure drones from hacking

Posted on November 14, 2012 11:39 am

US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under a four-year $17.35 million secured by government research outfit National ICT Australia has commissioned a team of Australian scientists to travel to the United States to develop systems to prevent drone aircraft from being hacked. According to the source, much of the work will be released as open source to help secure other critical systems such as aircraft, vehicles and medical devices. The researchers will form part of a team including others at Boeing, defence firms Gaolis and Rockwell Colin and the University of Minnesota.The security systems will be subject to red team penetration tests in which researchers expect to use knowledge of the drone systems to attack them using any available means. NICTA researchers plan to apply their expertise in formal verification.

Formal verification ensures a system functions only according to its specifications and has been used in military equipment and nuclear power plants.NICTA security and environment business team said the project was designed to ensure drones continued to operate during cyber attacks.The project was part of DARPA’s High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems program.This new development will give Australia the opportunity to greatly extend the scale, aiming to ensure the safety of a complete, real-world system, something considered impossible only a few years ago.NICTA’s selection for this project reflects Australia status as world leaders in the verification of operating systems.

Contador Harrison