Galois Develops Anti-Hacking Software for Commercial UAVs

Posted by Betsy Lillian on March 09, 2015 No Comments

Galois, a Portland, Ore.-based company that specializes in protecting information, devices, networks and vehicles, says it has developed and demonstrated anti-hacking software for commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as cars and other devices.

Galois conducted a successful demonstration for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program. In the program, Galois – along with the University of Minnesota, National ICT Australia and Boeing – is part of a team led by Rockwell Collins.

For a February 2015 CBS “60 Minutes” segment profiling the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Galois demonstrated an exploit that allows an attacker to completely take over a commercial, off-the-shelf UAV in flight.

Galois then showed the same UAV running the high-assurance UAV software that makes the aircraft invulnerable to large classes of attack. The technology addresses the same security vulnerabilities found in many systems, including modern automobiles and the Internet of Things, the company explains.

“As unmanned drones – particularly those used for civilian and commercial purposes – grow in number and usage, current software vulnerabilities pose a national security risk,” says Kathleen Fisher, former DARPA HACMS program manager. “Galois’ demonstration offers evidence that software built the right way dramatically reduces vulnerabilities, not just for drones, but for cars, information systems and the Internet itself.”

“The message for organizations building connected vehicles, systems and products is that vulnerabilities are not a foregone conclusion if secure and reliable software is designed into their products up front,” explains Rob Wiltbank, CEO of Galois. “Systems can be made correct by design, which presents an opportunity for organizations to dramatically reduce the hacking threat.”

A video on the software can be found here.

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