Exploring the Vulnerabilities of Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) Through Software Defined Radio (SDR) Exploitation

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Date
2019-06-13
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) are safety-critical systems that are deployed on most commercial aircraft in service today. However, TCAS transactions were not designed to account for malicious actors. While in the past it may have been infeasible for an attacker to craft arbitrary radio signals, attackers today have access to open-source digital signal processing software like GNU Radio and inexpensive Software Define Radios (SDR). Therefore, this thesis presents motivation through analytical and experimental means for more investigation into TCAS from a security perspective. Methods for analyzing TCAS both qualitatively and quantitatively from an adversarial perspective are presented, and an experimental attack is developed in GNU Radio to perform an attack in a well-defined threat model.

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Keywords
Cyber-Physical, Security, TCAS, SSR, SDR
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