Dissertation Defense

From Attack to Defense: Toward Secure In-vehicle Networks

Kyong Tak Cho

New security breaches in vehicles are emerging due to software-driven Electronic Control Units (ECUs) and wireless connectivities of modern vehicles. These trends have introduced more remote surfaces/endpoints that an adversary can exploit and, in the worst case, control the vehicle remotely. Researchers have demonstrated how vulnerabilities in remote endpoints can be exploited to compromise an ECU, access the in-vehicle network, and then control vehicle maneuvers. To detect and/or prevent such vehicle cyber attacks, researchers have also developed and proposed numerous countermeasures. However, there still remain critical attacks which existing defense schemes can neither detect/prevent nor considered. Moreover, existing defense schemes lack certain functionalities,thus not meeting the need of strong protection for safety-critical ECUs against in-vehicle network attacks.

In this thesis, we first unveil a new type of Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack called the bus-off attack which, ironically, exploits the error-handling scheme of in-vehicle networks in shutting down the vehicle. Next, we propose a new anomaly-based Intrusion Detection System (IDS) which detects intrusions based on extracted fingerprints of ECUs. Such a capability fills the deficiency of existing IDSs and thus detects a wide range of in-vehicle network attacks, including those existing schemes cannot. Then, we propose an attacker identification scheme which provides a swift pathway for forensic, isolation, and security patch. Such an identification is achieved by fingerprinting ECUs based on voltage measurements. Lastly, we propose two new attack methods called the Battery-Drain attack and the Denial-of-Body-control attack through which an adversary can disable parked vehicles with the ignition off. These attacks invalidate the conventional belief that vehicle cyber attacks are feasible and thus their defenses are required only when the vehicle's ignition is on.

Sponsored by

Kang G. Shin