One of the largest concerns in the great debate about drones is the security. Case and point, Samy Kamkar’s Skyjack software, which made a ruckus when it hit the internet last December. Skyjack is a simple software program specifically designed to gain control of a drone while in flight. The software scans for wireless signals associated with active drones within the vicinity and allow the user to hack into, and gain complete control of the drone.
To counter such nefarious programs, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, (DARPA) has been working on a project dubbed HACMS. HACMS, also known as High Assurance Cyber Military Systems, is a software program designed to protect a UAS from cyber-attacks. A recent demonstration of the software showcased a team of hackers and their attempts to hack and gain entry into a quadcopter’s operating and control systems. The hacking attempts failed to breach the HACMS firewalls and protected the quadcopter from the numerous assaults.
And its not just drones that are at risk of cyber-attacks; medical devices, communication devices and computer peripherals are also vulnerable. The thought of someone hacking into your car’s onboard computer system is a scary thought, which is why anti-hacking software has become so important to researchers such as Dr. Kathleen Fisher.
Fisher, who is a Tufts University scientist and DARPA project manager explained to the InfoSec Institute, “Many of these systems share a common structure: They have an insecure cyber perimeter, constructed from standard software components, surrounding control systems designed for safety but not for security.” The HACMS project was assigned to Dr. Fisher as a 4 year project with a budget that is estimated to reach $60 million dollars.