Post-quantum cryptographic key distribution for autonomous systems operating in contested areas

Michael Partridge, Saloni Jain, Michael Garrett, Bertrand Cambou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The deployment of post-quantum cryptographic algorithms currently under standardization by NIST have the potential to mitigate quantum computer based attacks, which present a whole new range of cybersecurity challenges. We recognize post-quantum cryptography (PQC) key distribution, across autonomous systems operating in contested areas, as a particularly difficult problem to solve. Verifying the origin and integrity of mission instructions is of extreme importance, especially in the context of autonomous vehicles, missiles, and drones; the lack of which can enable opponents to leverage attacks effecting catastrophic damage to life, property, and strategy. This work proposes a protocol for controlled key distribution through the use of PQC algorithms, strengthened by fingerprints of embedded devices. With this framework, we can assure the origin and correctness of digital information sent to autonomous systems, and enforce that only authorized members can send instructions to these devices. This protocol replaces the deterministic, pseudo-random seed in these PQC protocols with a fingerprint derived from the physical disorder of the embedded device to enhance security and maintain the integrity of the system. We demonstrate how this system can be used to send instructions, verify the origin of the instructions upon receipt, and certify the integrity of the instruction packet received. We also discuss situations in which an attacker attempts to falsify information and how to detect that malicious action. We measure the quality and performance of this prototype system by measuring the latency and bit error rates. We demonstrate this prototype system using the CRYSTALS-DILITHIUM digital signature algorithm (DSA).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAutonomous Systems
Subtitle of host publicationSensors, Processing, and Security for Ground, Air, Sea, and Space Vehicles and Infrastructure 2023
EditorsMichael C. Dudzik, Stephen M. Jameson, Theresa J. Axenson
PublisherSPIE
ISBN (Electronic)9781510661967
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes
EventAutonomous Systems: Sensors, Processing, and Security for Ground, Air, Sea, and Space Vehicles and Infrastructure 2023 - Orlando, United States
Duration: May 2 2023May 4 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume12540
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X

Conference

ConferenceAutonomous Systems: Sensors, Processing, and Security for Ground, Air, Sea, and Space Vehicles and Infrastructure 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando
Period5/2/235/4/23

Keywords

  • autonomous systems
  • cryptography
  • data integrity
  • digital signature algorithm (DSA)
  • dilithium
  • fingerprint
  • key distribution
  • physical unclonable function (PUF)
  • post-quantum cryptography (PQC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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