An American institute develops a system for the cybersecurity of military vehicles

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The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Texas has developed a new intrusion detection system (IDS) to protect military ground vehicles from cybersecurity attacks.

Developed in collaboration with the US Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center, the new IDS technology uses algorithms and fingerprints to detect any anomalies in the communication systems on board combat vehicles on the ground.

The system algorithms will transmit information via CAN (Controller Area Network) protocol to identify an unknown or invalid node connected to the vehicle network.

“A cyber attack could potentially send erroneous information via the CAN protocol to alter or hinder the operations of a vehicle”, engineer SwRI Jonathan wolford noted in a press release. “An attack on multiple connected vehicles could have disastrous effects. “

System test

In an attempt to better understand the characteristics of the new system, SwRI performed a test to maximize the baseline data of the system. The test showed that the intrusion system accurately identified messages sent from unauthorized nodes and spurious messages sent from valid nodes.

The developers also revealed that they had injected fake data into the system; however, algorithms quickly flagged suspicious information, proving that IDS technology can identify and protect against threats.

“These attacks are theoretically easier for bad actors who have physical access to a vehicle, but vehicles are also vulnerable to wireless attacks,” said another engineer from SwRI. Peter Moldenhauer explained, adding that the system is designed to build cyber resilience for more connected and automated vehicle networks.

Although IDS technology was originally designed for military vehicles, the institute said it could also be incorporated into passenger cars and commercial vehicles.


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