By Maj. Douglas Halleaux (Army National Guard)December 17, 2019
LANSING, Mich. - U.S. Army engineers and scientists specializing in automotive cybersecurity with their colleagues from the Michigan State Police (MSP) demonstrated the results of applying Army cybersecurity tools to the law enforcement agency's fleet vehicles December 6.
The Army experts are from the nearby U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC), headquartered at Detroit Arsenal in Warren.
This demonstration was the culmination of an agreement between GVSC and MSP that was kicked off in mid-2018. At its core, the Army experts performed a cyber vulnerability analysis of the two MSP fleet vehicles. This analysis, focused on finding weaknesses in the computerized systems inherent in modern police vehicles, is important to provide MSP the tools to strengthen cyber defenses and prepare for how to respond in the event of a cybersecurity incident.
The police vehicles were evaluated at the MSP test track in Lansing, enduring day after day of high-tech efforts to test unseen defenses on board. The test track provided the engineers an opportunity to conduct their vulnerability tests in an operational setting, while the vehicles were in motion.
"It's been a great opportunity, working with the Michigan State Police, for our engineers to apply the tactics, techniques and procedures we've developed in our automotive cybersecurity research, in a totally different environment," said Jeff Jaczkowski, Associate Director, GVSC Ground Systems Cyber Engineering. "Predicting threats, in general, is all about volume--the more you've seen, the more you can prepare for. Relationships like these with MSP are invaluable parts to that equation, resulting in a more resilient, defensible vehicle system for the Army."
On-hand to review the results were Army executives from GVSC and senior Michigan State Police officials, including Lt. Col. Chris Kelenske.
"We have been taking steps for years to reduce the impacts of disruptive cyber-related events and protect the health, safety and economic interests of Michigan residents and business," said Kelenske. "This partnership will help ensure systems and components that govern vehicle safety, operations, and public safety-related equipment are protected from harmful attacks, damage, unauthorized access, or anything else that might interfere with emergency response or vehicle safety functions."
The relationship between the Army and MSP was a result of cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) between the Ground Vehicle Systems Center and other State of Michigan entities, like the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which in the past have yielded advances in driverless vehicles, vehicle cybersecurity, and advanced vehicle communications.