Intel and the University of Luxembourg have teamed up to make autonomous vehicles more resilient and hacker-free.
The Partnership Framework Agreement signed between Intel and the university’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT), hopes to neutralise cyber attacks automatically, and also allow a vehicle to ‘self-heal’ before an hacker can compromise too many essential functions.
The agreement follows SnT’s involvement in the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Collaborative Autonomous & Resilient Systems (ICRI-CARS), with the work being carried out by researchers from SnT’s Critical and Extreme Security and Dependability Research Group (CritiX).
Autonomous car manufacturers are still working on allowing their vehicles to collaborate with one another; in order to drive safely, these cars will need to share information about their environment, from roadworks and weather conditions to pedestrians stepping out into the road.
Unfortunately, the complex software and extensive connectivity necessary for such collaborative autonomous driving makes these systems more vulnerable to attack.
For example, hackers could interfere with sensor devices or communications between vehicles to take control of several cars and block an emergency route, or to appropriate police and military vehicles. Driving control systems could even be hacked to cause accidents.
Using the methods currently being developed by CritiX, any one system within a car – for example the engine control system, responsible for fuel injection and air calibration – will be made up of multiple independent software components, rather than just one.
According to the researchers, more than a third of these components would need to be compromised in order for a hacker to manipulate the system.
Furthermore with CritiX’s approach, we can imagine that each component is like a labyrinth, and in order to compromise it, a hacker will have to find the way to the very heart of that labyrinth.
While this is happening, however, any previously compromised components will self-heal and ‘re-design’ themselves, so a hacker would constantly be faced by an array of new labyrinths.
Image credits and content: University of Luxembourg