Last week, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that it has selected two teams of companies to support its Automatic Implementation of Secure Silicon (AISS) program to ‘automate the process of incorporating scalable defense mechanisms into chip designs’. The program is addressing what DARPA describes as ‘making design-for-security’ pervasive.

UltraSoC is delighted to have been included in this list along with Arm, Boeing, IBM, Northrop Grumman, and Synopsys – a team that will set out to develop ‘On Chip Security Engines’.

As reported in EE Timesultimately, the agency hopes to automate the process of incorporating ‘scalable defense mechanisms into chip designs’ as it seeks to protect its semiconductor supply chain.”

UltraSoC has been utilizing its embedded analytics and monitoring technology in an increasing number of cybersecurity applications. Our on-chip architecture protects the underlying hardware from known attacks, but also is able to monitor for zero-day vulnerabilities, unknown weaknesses or new threats.

The reason it’s so important and why we’re involved in so many secure projects: UltraSoC technology is hardware-based. This provides two significant advantages: being hardware-based means our technology can detect and mitigate threats in real-time; and it is extremely difficult to circumvent. And that means the end product operates safely and securely, and the system delivers the performance exactly as intended by the designer.

The AISS program is aligned with DARPA’s charter of “Creating Breakthrough Technologies and Capabilities for National Security”, but UltraSoC has also been working increasingly with automotive customers and partners. Here, our IP can be used to implement common functional safety design strategies, such as lockstep – to help our customers comply with safety regulations such as ISO 26262. And now automotive applications are now becoming increasingly cybersecurity aware, because with connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) there is no safety without security.

Vehicles which are being designed today are due to hit the streets in the next 3-5 years – and they’re likely to stay on the road for an average of eight years after that. So it’s clear that the threat landscape will have evolved, and will continue to do so. An intelligent, embedded hardware-based line of security monitoring helps to future-proof against these threats we simply can’t define today.

Following the successful Innovate UK grant bid, UltraSoC is now involved in the Secure-CAV consortium to drive the development of cybersecurity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles.

We hope to be able to update you on our involvement in the exciting DARPA project as it progresses.

Read more about hardware security here.