Military Embedded Systems

Navy & Old Dominion University sign CRADA to assess security in cyber-electronic warfare systems


March 22, 2017

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

CRANE, Ind. Old Dominion University (ODU) and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) entered into a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with an end-goal to assess security risks for Cyber Electronic Warfare (Cyber-EW) systems in Navy piers and ports.

“There is a need to identify and assess the impact of malicious RF signals which impact the security of the Navy’s critical infrastructure,” Dr. Scot Hawkins, NSWC Crane principal investigator says. “We really need to understand and actually quantify the threats to the Cyber-EW systems, and we think this agreement with Old Dominion can help us do that.”

Hawkins has worked to establish this agreement with Old Dominion University because of the increasing threat of Cyber-EW, specifically as it relates to malicious radio frequency (RF) signals.

NSWC Crane' Phantom Boxcar provides the RF baseline for a pier or port environment. The data captured by the Phantom Boxcar at NSWC Crane will then be analyzed to provide insight into the Cyber-EW security of the Navy’s critical infrastructure. It has the capability to collect information from a number of different sources, including WiFi and wideband/narrowband RF. Once NSWC Crane collects and analyzes the data, Old Dominion University’s cybersecurity research lab will work to develop a wireless vulnerability assessment model to quantify the impact of threats.

NSWC Crane and Old Dominion University will evaluate the risk of a variety of cyberthreats, such as denial of service, node forgery and flow-based jamming, as well as cyber-physical attacks, such as replay, attack propagation, and authentic sensor measurements.

“The ODU cybersecurity team has expertise in techniques to assess and monitor cybersecurity risk,” says ODU’s Dr. Sachin Shetty. “A security risk assessment capability for the Cyber-EW system will provide risk scores for known and zero-day attacks. The deployment of the risk assessment models will facilitate continuous monitoring of risk and selection of network/system configurations to mitigate risk.”

A CRADA provides federal laboratories with a vehicle to facilitate the transfer of commercially useful technologies from federal labs to the private sector. NSWC Crane’s Technology Transfer (T2) Program helps link federal research and development to academic institutions and businesses in the private sector. The program has partnerships with more than 100 businesses, individuals and universities. Currently, there are 34 active CRADAs and 152 active agreements.

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi-spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability of today’s warfighter.

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