UltraSoC and Canis Labs Partner to Secure the CAN Bus

By Tiera Oliver

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

June 30, 2020


UltraSoC and Canis Labs Partner to Secure the CAN Bus

The collaboration centers on the deployment of Canis Labs' CAN-HG technology, a new augmentation of the standard CAN bus protocol that includes bus guardian security features.

UltraSoC and Canis Automotive Labs announced a partnership that addresses lack of security features within the CAN bus, which is commonly used to interconnect in-vehicle systems such as brakes, steering, engine, airbags, door locks, and headlights.

The partnership between the two companies will yield hardware-based intrusion detection and mitigation techniques for common exploits on the CAN bus. These include automatic hardware anti-spoofing; defence against bit-level attacks such as the Bus-Off attack and bit-glitching; and resistance to denial of service (DoS) style attacks.

The collaboration centers on the deployment of Canis Labs’ CAN-HG technology, a new augmentation of the standard CAN bus protocol that includes bus guardian security features, and according to the company, has the added benefit of being able to carry payloads twelve times larger than standard CAN frames.

When combined with UltraSoC’s semiconductor IP for detection and mitigation of cyber threats, CAN-HG allows designers to secure their CAN bus designs at the hardware level. The cybersecurity capabilities enabled by the collaboration employ ideal bits within the CAN-HG augmented part of a CAN frame to add security information to CAN frames. This can be used by UltraSoC’s protocol-aware monitoring hardware to identify and block suspicious or unauthorized traffic traveling over CAN. These new capabilities will be refined and proved for deployment as part of Secure-CAV.

Aileen Ryan, UltraSoC CSO, commented: “Automotive cybersecurity requires an ecosystem approach. We’re delighted to add Canis Labs to our list of partners working in this area, which already includes NSITEXE-DENSO and Agile Analog; as well as our partners in the Secure-CAV project, Copper Horse and the Universities of Coventry and Southampton. Up to now the industry has been forced to use sticking plaster solutions to defend CAN interconnect, relying on software techniques or perimeter security. Incorporating Canis Labs’ innovative CAN-HG technology into UltraSoC’s products allows us to secure the vehicle ‘from the inside out’: within the underlying electronic hardware.”

Most existing approaches to CAN security are software-based, meaning that they are often unable to react quickly enough to prevent protocol-level attacks. Because it is hardware based, a joint Canis Labs / UltraSoC solution can react quickly enough to prevent an attack from completing. This has two implications.

First, many exploits rely on creating a “window of opportunity” during which the system is in a vulnerable or unknown state. A fast reaction time can eliminate this window and improve the overall robustness of cybersecurity defenses.

Second, CAN bus is used in many cyberphysical systems, in which elapsed time equates to distance traveled. A faster response time therefore has benefits in terms of mitigating the physical consequences of an attempted intrusion, better protecting the safety of citizens, and infrastructure.

For more information visit www.ultrasoc.com or www.canislabs.com.

Tiera Oliver, Associate Editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits, product news, and constructing stories. She also assists with newsletter updates as well as contributing and editing content for ECD podcasts and the ECD YouTube channel. Before working at ECD, Tiera graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.S. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university’s student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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