From Signal magazine:
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program is known as High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems, or HACMS. Kathleen Fisher, HACMS program manager, says the program is aiming to produce software that is “functionally correct and satisfying safety and security policies.
“It’s not just that you’re proving the absence of a particular bad property from the security perspective,” she explains. “You’re actually positively proving that the software has the correct behavior.”
Fisher points out that with unmanned systems, an attacker can reach the relevant software remotely. Until a few years ago, cyber-physical systems such as automobiles had their own built-in security because they were not networked. But, automobiles increasingly are likely to have network connections, especially those that automatically provide for emergency response in the event of an accident. “The fact that pretty much all of these systems are networked means that the kind of vulnerabilities we’ve seen on desktop and traditional computing systems for the past 20 to 30 years now carry over directly to these kinds of cyber-physical systems, such as vehicles,” she says.
One target platform is an ArduCopter, which Fisher describes as a hobbyist unmanned aerial vehicle. The code in this relatively small system is readily available, so developers should be able to replace the code completely. Developers already have built a domain-specific language called Ivory that would generate flight control types of code. Half of the original control system code has been replaced by the new high-assurance version—enough that the helicopter can be flown using this new code, she posits.
This effort is paired with a helicopter being produced by Boeing that can be manned or unmanned, so the ArduCopter’s architecture is being adjusted to match that of the Boeing helicopter. This will allow for easy transfer of the software developed for the ArduCopter to the Boeing craft. Fisher points out that the Boeing helicopter effort does have specific software replacement goals for each phase, unlike the other vehicles.