Unmanned Systems Security

(Modularity x Security) = Acceleration

Unmanned Systems can be vulnerable to traditional computer attacks, including attacks on wireless and networked communications. Interestingly, unmanned systems can also be vulnerable to attacks that target specific control elements such as stability and performance.  The nefarious actors can target control system functionality by:

  • Changing effective control update rates through Denial of Service (DOS) or similar attacks
  • Modifying system data from sensors (native or 3rd party)
  • Identifying design instabilities that weren't accounted for by control designers

Attackers can target control systems by corrupting feedback data, spoofing commands, delaying updates, and using other techniques to violate assumptions made in the design process.  Tools that attackers use to find vulnerabilities in code such as fuzzing, are easily adapted to control system attacks to find edge cases that designers may not have considered (e.g. that combination of events cannot happen) that can lead to a system event that the attacker can exploit.

Unmanned systems can also be attacked through their supply chain.  Advanced unmanned systems incorporate payloads, sensors, and software from third parties that may include malware and/or be vulnerable to attack.  The risks associated with using these components must be understood and mitigated.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Control System Vulnerability Analysis Separating Application (Coding) Vulnerabilities from Control System Vulnerabilities [From Cyber Attack Vulnerabilities Analysis for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles]  


Secmation developed SecMUAS as cybersecure rapid development framework that enables unmanned systems designers to leverage advanced security capabilities, without having to become security experts.

Like performance and stability, security is another system trade that engineers need to make to enable their unmanned applications. Secmation provides security analysis in language relevant to unmanned systems, giving engineers actionable and understandable guidance to improve designs.

We can enable successful unmanned systems design by providing secure hardware and software design services and tools. We can also give the control engineers the tools to "think like an attacker" and quickly find and eliminate security issues that could be exploited by attackers.