In this research area, we are working on two main threads, namely secure wireless communications in avionics systems and UAVs and drones.
Secure wireless communications in avionics systems
We are particularly interested in the secure deployment and utilisation of hardware security sensors and Electronic Control Units (ECUs) in avionics and automotive environments. There is currently an increased interest from the avionics industry in the introduction of wireless sensors in aircrafts. For example, the Integrated Module Avionics (IMA) system is a collection of computer nodes interconnected over Ethernet connections. The principal goal of an IMA system is to provide a safety-critical, reliable and secure infrastructure that facilitates the control and management of different aircraft subsystems, for example, flight control and cabin management systems. In this project, we focused on the viability and feasibility of replacing the cable based Ethernet system with a wireless medium.
We participated in the Secure High availability Avionics Wireless Networks (SHAWN) project (funded by EPSRC and TSB), which provided security expertise and advice in a number of industrial project partners. As a result of our work, we have published papers, with paper winning the best conference paper in the security session of a major avionics conference.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more apparent in both military and civilian applications. We are actively involved in collaborative research with the Universities of Limoges and Bordeaux on Drone Security. We have explored a number of secure authentication communication protocols for avionics systems and UAVs. This include lessons learned from the vehicular security research thread and through the use of mobile devices and trusted nodes. Findings of the two independent research threads can be combined, to enhance the overall security of the transport/avionics industry. The aim of this research thread is to draw security requirements for this kind of adversaries and to propose theoretical solutions based on an embedded Secure Element (SE) that could help to accommodate these requirements.
We are leading the development of a proposal that investigates the boundaries between safety-critical systems, cyber-resilience and cyber-security in relation to machine learning and artificial intelligence and ethics.