Researchers and quantum technology experts are to investigate how security systems “based on the randomness of light” can help protect connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) from cyber-attacks.
Amid fears that CAVS could be hijacked by criminals with equipment as basic as publicly available software and a laptop, the project, involving the cyber security group at Coventry University’s Institute for Future Transport and Cities (FTC) and a team of quantum experts at London-based cybersecurity start-up Crypta Labs, aims to improve their security and consequently the safety of their drivers and passengers.
The 12-month project is funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) through InnovateUK, under the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles 2 scheme.
“The weakest link in current encryption systems is a reliance on numbers which are not truly random and which can put the vehicles at risk of being hacked,” a statement explains. “But Crypta Labs has developed a Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) based on the randomness derived from the quantum properties of light. This QRNG can acquire a true random number by using the behaviour of light particles called photons, as they act in a completely random way.”
This project will assess the technical and commercial feasibility of applying Crypta Labs’ system to connected and autonomous vehicles ahead of the company rolling out and commercialising its technology internationally.
(Picture shows a “hacked” connected vehicle – picture credit, WIRED magazine)