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Cyber Security Testing of the Robot Operating System in Unmanned Aerial Systems

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Unmanned systems have gained in prominence as platforms from which to conduct military operations. The Robot Operating System ROS is a widely adopted standard robotic middleware however, its preliminary design is devoid of any network security features. Military grade unmanned systems must be guarded against network threats. ROS 2.0 is built upon the Data Distribution Service standard and is designed to provide solutions to identified ROS 1.0 security vulnerabilities by incorporating authentication, encryption, and process profile features. The Department of Defense is looking to use ROS 2.0 for its military-centric robotics platform. Through our work, we demonstrated that ROS 2.0 can serve as a functional platform for use in military grade unmanned systems. We tested the viability of ROS 2.0 to safeguard communications between an unmanned aerial swarm and a ground control station against rogue node and message-spoofing attacks. Our experiments employ the PX4 Multi Vehicle Simulation swarming three iris-quadcopter aerial drones within a Gazebo 9 simulation environment, utilizing QGroundControl as our ground control station. Drones were targeted individually to ascertain the effectiveness of our attack vectors under specific conditions. We demonstrated the effectiveness of ROS 2.0 in mitigating the chosen attack vectors but observed a measurable operational delay within our simulations.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Systems Management and Standards
  • Pilotless Aircraft

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