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Cybersecurity and Military Autonomous Vehicles

Security isn’t just for the consumer vehicle market

by Charles Parker

Vehicles continue to be targeted by malicious attackers and cybersecurity researchers. There is a certain notoriety involved with successfully exploiting a vehicle and/or its modules. This is a quick track to your 15 minutes of fame. The modules focussed on recently have been concentrated on the consumer market. This is a natural extension, as the consumer market is massive, with cars everywhere across the globe. One area though not directly noted in abundance has been the military vehicles. These certainly have the same or nearly same embedded systems the consumer vehicles do. Granted there may be more specialized equipment in certain vehicles, however, they are more alike than different. What is an addition to this is the autonomous factor. Vehicles, consumer and military, are moving towards this. There have been numerous articles emphasizing this, especially over the last three years.

Recently a team of six student from Texas A&M University has been working on this segment of the cybersecurity industry and were recognized as one of the top hackathon teams. The team developed the PHC (picryption, HIVE, clutch) Defense. This was designed to be used with the military autonomous vehicles. What makes this more pertinent are the vehicle's mission and critical nature. With the work these are tasked with, a hack on one or more vehicles would prove to be disastrous. The developed defense is a nuance to the defense in depth, combining software and mechanical means to secure the vehicle. The Picryption is based on a more proactive measure, with not merely noting and logging an issue but alerting the crew in the vehicle.

This is clearly a step in the right direction. These vehicles in particular have to have protection against these attacks



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