How artificial intelligence protects a Formula 1 car from cyber attacks

How artificial intelligence protects a Formula 1 car from cyber attacks

How Darktrace's systems work to protect McLaren racing cars: 1.5 terabytes of data is transferred during every race between cars and mission control

McLaren MCL35M, Silverstone, February 18, 2021 (Photo McLaren) always. Bringing the fight on an equal footing. Take countermeasures now to defend against the threats of tomorrow. It is the essence of Formula 1, not only in racing but also in managing cybersecurity.

“Soon - says Chris Hicks, McLaren's chief information officer - we will be able to fight fire with fire “. Man has no half terms. His job is also to make sure that the company he works for is always safe and protected, but the sector in which he operates is more complex: Formula 1, the hi-tech car competition in which every fraction of a second it counts and can make the difference between first and last position, between failure and success, but also between life and death of the rider. "Soon - Hicks tells Wired - the attackers who target us will use artificial intelligence to make even more effective attacks".

Ai on the track

Fighting fire with fire means , according to Hicks, u are artificial intelligence to counter. Since early 2020, McLaren has been using the Cyber ​​Ai system from Darktrace, a cybersecurity technology provider, as a wild card to close the loop of protecting its assets. "Cyber ​​Ai is a self-learning system that understands by itself what the normal daily behavior of our organization is in order to intercept and respond to digital threats," says the manager.

Chris Hicks. that of McLaren (Photo: McLaren) The system is in a state of unsupervised learning, that is, autonomous, and evolves smoothly with the change in the "normal" of the company, as well as with the types of attacks possible. This powers Antigena, McLaren's defense system, also from Darktrace, which allows the corporate infrastructure to "heal and defend itself". And it works. Hicks explains: “During the 2020 Imola Grand Prix Antigena blocked a highly sophisticated and calibrated phishing attack for our CEO Zak Brown, who had managed to pass through all our other control systems“.

The attacks are automatic, increasingly sophisticated and there is no way for an operator to keep track of the bulk of data generated by the control tools and understand if something is happening before it is too late. And with artificial intelligence in the hands of the bad guys, this will get even worse. "This is why the use of Ai is critical for us," says Hicks.

Who wants to damage Formula 1?

But who are the forwards? Who wants to undermine McLaren or another Formula 1 team? "There is not just one type of attacker - says Hicks - because cybercrime has evolved and today has formed a global market for professional hacking services." There are attacks motivated by financial gains that want to block McLaren’s systems for ransom, attacks from state-sponsored groups to individuals who simply want to embarrass the company in public by making them misfire during a Grand Prix. “In a world of extremely sophisticated attacks it doesn't matter if the attack is financed by a state or a kid in his bedroom, what is important is that our infrastructure is capable of defending itself,” adds the manager.

There are many things to protect. Aside from the most obvious things, such as intellectual property, car and engine designs, racing strategies up to the drivers' medical files, there is the flow of data in constant motion. Which becomes a sea during a Grand Prix: 1.5 terabytes of data are transferred during each race between each individual car and mission control. The MCL35, the car that races in Formula 1 races this year, sends a flood of data every millisecond from a myriad of sensors. All things that quickly cross the gap between the position of the car, which travels at more than 300 kilometers per hour, to the garage and from there to the headquarters, the McLaren Technology Center, in milliseconds. "A quantity of data that sixty people would not be enough to manage and defend", says Hicks.

Parallelisms between sport and cyber

The job of the Formula 1 teams is to move quickly . A sport in which, in addition to planning, execution skills and constant adjustment are necessary, in which the stress is continuous and high because it requires very short times, sometimes strategic decisions that must be taken in a fraction of a second. This, applied to digital technology and cybersecurity in particular, means that the traditional model is no longer enough.

Even a simple beep in racing systems, for example, indicating a sensor that is no longer connected for a moment , it makes a difference. “We realized this already in 1998, at the Australian Grand Prix - says Hicks -, when a hacked radio had a negative impact on Mika Häkkinen's racing time. Today, even the online presentation of the new machine, an event with 12 virtual streams, eight of which are simultaneous, must be protected “. The pandemic has pushed the company even further to work with cloud platforms such as Cisco's Webex for communication and Dropbox for data. "This explains - concludes the manager - why we need a unified cybersecurity system, complete and capable of protecting every side of our business".

Business - 13 hours ago

The branches of the Bcc in Rome were involved in a suspected cyber attack

adsJSCode ("nativeADV1", [[2, 1]], "true", "1", "native", "read-more", "1"); Tech - 13 hours ago

There are still a lot of knots to solve on the European green pass (and little time to do it)

adsJSCode ("nativeADV2", [[2,1]], " true "," 2 "," native "," read-more "," 2 "); Business - 29 Apr

A study calculates the "hidden" costs of 5G networks


Cars Cybersecurity Formula 1 Sport globalData.fldTopic = "Cars, Cybersecurity, Formula 1 , Sport "

You May Also Like

This opera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Powered by Blogger.