Armoring Tanks with Better Cyber Security: Charles River Analytics Develops Custom Solution to Detect Cyber Anomalies on Armored Vehicles

Image of armored tanks for DoD and Charles River Analytics project.
CANDID can help analysts detect cyber security breaches in tanks (Image source: Department of Defense)

Charles River Analytics Inc., developer of intelligent systems solutions, has received funding from the US Army to develop our Controller Area Network Defense in Depth (CANDID) custom hardware/software solution. CANDID can help analysts detect cyber security breaches in tanks that rely on vulnerable commercial protocols and electronic systems.

CANDID can help analysts detect cyber security breaches in tanks (Image source: Department of Defense)

“Electronic control units are embedded computers that control nearly all essential functions of modern tanks; these units have little built-in security and rely heavily on insecure communication protocols,” explained Dan Mitchell, Senior Software Engineer at Charles River Analytics and Principal Investigator on our CANDID effort. “This lack of security makes cyber attacks on tanks extremely dangerous—impacts range from loss of confidential information to total loss of vehicle control. CANDID integrates easily into existing tank systems, where it can detect cyber threats and take defensive actions.”

CANDID detects cyber attacks by learning what normal system behavior looks like and detecting anomalies during runtime. If CANDID identifies a cyber threat, it can drop or modify corrupt or malevolent system messages without affecting the tank’s ability to complete its mission.

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CANDID can alert analysts to cyber security threats onboard military vehicles

We are building on our rich cyber security expertise and history of successful anomaly detection to develop CANDID. Our related DAAMS effort provides attack-detection capabilities specifically for memory space, another vulnerable area of military vehicle systems. Our cross-disciplinary approach on CANDID fuses scientists and engineers from both our Decision Management and Sensing, Perception, and Applied Robotics Divisions. We are also leveraging our Point Judith facility’s hardware capabilities to develop the CANDID hardware device.

Beyond the government, CANDID offers broad benefits to the commercial vehicle space—most cars and other vehicles rely on controller area networks for communication the same way tanks do. As vehicles become more interconnected, they are more vulnerable to cyber attacks—since 2012, the number of attacks on vehicles has greatly increased. CANDID offers an effective, cost-efficient solution to the emerging market of controller area network security.

Contact us to learn more about CANDID and our other Cyber Defense capabilities.

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