BAE Developing New Cyber Threat Detection System For Military Aircraft

BAE Systems is growing its platform for future military aircraft cyber contracts with a program to gather its proprietary system analysis and reverse engineering detection tools under a new project it calls Cyber Warning.

Cyber Warning is directed towards deploying upgraded cyber mitigation capabilities for  fixed and rotor-wing aircraft utilizing legacy systems, while building on experience from previous military contracts.BAE logo

“It all started coming together as Cyber Warning about a year or two ago. The next step is we’re continuing to work with our government customers to help mature these capabilities,” BAE’s David Woolrich, program manager for Cyber Warning, told Defense Daily in an interview on Thursday. “Our reverse engineering tools and systems analysis tools, they’re relatively high maturity and have been used for these types of activities. The anomaly detection, the cyber warning capabilities are continuing to be developed through our internal funding right now to get it up to higher maturity-level and working with government customers to bring it over the finish line.”

BAE’s system is aimed at future military contracts to mitigate threats associated with legacy systems built into aircraft which require periodic upgrades as they remain in service.

Often, legacy systems leave warfighters vulnerable to cyber threats due to an increased reliance on older processors and data links. The surface area for potential attacks increases as more software is added to these older systems.

Cyber Warning aims to shift from traditional threat detection more a more behavior-based model to meet newer threats.

“When you’re looking at traditional virus or malware protection, it can either be signature-based or anomaly-based. We’re trying to focus on the behavior-based, and that’s going to give our warfighters the ability to detect something they’ve never seen before the first time it happens,” said Woolrich.

The latest cyber threat management system utilizes BAE’s automated vulnerability assessment, subsystem hardening and malicious system behavior identification. Cyber Warning will be able to be integrated with existing threat detection systems or work as a stand-alone solution, according to Woolrich.

“These capabilities we’re developing can actually be integrated into existing systems we have today that BAE already makes, so that’s a low-risk effort. But we’re making a robust effort to provide the capability to the warfighter, even if we don’t have an existing system on that platform,” he said. 

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