DARPA eyes cyber security for Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded computing devices

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 24 May 2016. U.S. military researchers are asking cyber security experts at Praxis Engineering Technologies Inc. in Annapolis Junction, Md., to find new ways of providing cyber security for embedded computing and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

May 24th, 2016
DARPA eyes cyber security for Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded computing devices
DARPA eyes cyber security for Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded computing devices
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 24 May 2016. U.S. military researchers are asking cyber security experts at Praxis Engineering Technologies Inc. in Annapolis Junction, Md., to find new ways of providing cyber security for embedded computing and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, have announced a $12.6 million contract to Praxis for the Leveraging the Analog Domain for Security (LADS) program.

LADS seeks to develop a new protection paradigm that separates security monitoring from the protected system by focusing on low-resource, embedded and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The Air Force Research Lab awarded the contract on behalf of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va.

Praxis experts will explore technologies to associate the running state of a device with its involuntary analog emissions across the device's electromagnetic emissions, acoustic emanations, power fluctuations, and thermal output variations.

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The intent is to enable a decoupled monitoring device to confirm the software that is running on the monitored device, to determine which instruction, basic block, or function the software is executing, or which part of memory the software is accessing.

The LADS program seeks to develop new cyber security capabilities for embedded and mission-specific devices such as those found in home automation, supervisory control and data acquisition, industrial control systems, IoT, and Internet of Everything environments, DARPA officials say.

These kinds of devices have limitations that larger computer systems do not, such as low storage and memory capacity, slow processor speed, low power consumption, intermittent connectivity, and lack of trustworthy visibility into system status and operation.

Compounding these limitations are cost sensitivity, limited ability for these devices to work together, and limited ability to modify and upgrade them once they are in the field. These factors limit the use of cyber security developed for bigger devices.

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Instead, LADS seeks to develop new cyber security capabilities by combining analog and digital technologies. The combination of analog signal analysis and program analysis techniques will enable external monitoring devices to detect attempted cyber attacks not only on embedded computing and IoT devices, but also to larger information technology devices, DARPA officials say.

For this program DARPA is asking Praxis to provide multi-model analog sensing to determine adaptively what features to compute from signals a device emits during training and testing.

Praxis experts also will extract sub-bands of interest, eliminate noise from individual signals, and remove interfering transmissions emitted from other devices in the vicinity.

On this contract Praxis will do the work in Annapolis Junction, Md., and should be finished by July 2020. For more information contact Praxis Engineering Technologies online at www.praxiseng.com, or DARPA at www.darpa.mil.

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