Vehicle Electronics and Architecture (VEA) & Cyber

Real-time Analysis of Vehicle Patches and Binaries

by James Brock; Jason Dahlstrom; Stephen Wille Padnos; Stephen Taylor


Modern data loggers of industrial bus networks provide a useful tool to record the bus traffic associated critical vehicle systems, but provide little insight into the impact of maintenance patches on the associated system binary codes and system behaviors. This paper describes an emerging DARPA technology, the Tactical Smart Network Interface Card (TSNIC), that provides a secure base from which to deploy, monitor, and interact with patched binaries. Our TSNIC appliance can take either a passive or active presence on the vehicle bus, obviating the need for a vulnerable JTAG interface, and processes diagnostic messages arriving from the patched binary. These messages can provide a wide range of insights into the behavior of the system. The Tactical Smart NIC represents the next-generation of secure and reliable patching technology for military and heavy industrial systems. It provides a unique way for developers, maintainers, and field engineers to gain a new appreciation for the operational impact of their patches. DARPA is actively seeking operational partners for deployment and technology evolution. This paper outlines the existing and planned capabilities of the platform.