U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center, GRIMM, MEDC and Michigan State Police Collaborate in Vehicle Cyber Security Demonstration

Thursday, October 27, 2022

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recently hosted the National Cyber Director, Chris Inglis, and members of the Office of the National Cyber Director, to demonstrate the cyber capabilities embedded in Michigan’s industries, state and federal agencies, and academia. The National Cyber Director serves as a principal advisor to the President on cybersecurity policy and strategy as well as cybersecurity engagement with industry and international stakeholders.

“As cyber threats become increasingly prevalent, Michigan is developing a robust cybersecurity community while fostering an environment where rapidly growing cyber talent and global businesses can thrive,” said Sarah Tennant, Sector Development Director and Cyber Initiatives at MEDC. “Michigan is proud to be taking a leading role in developing innovative solutions for protecting the security of systems and people around the state, country and world.”

MEDC utilized its existing Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) to join with Michigan-based GRIMM and the Michigan State Police (MSP) to conduct a cyber vulnerability demonstration for the National Cyber Director. Over the course of a two-week period, various tests were completed by GVSC and GRIMM, with the involvement of MSP’s Information Technology Division, Cyber Section, and Precision Driving Unit. GVSC and GRIMM, using a technique referred to as penetration testing, identified areas in MSP’s vehicles and systems where an attacker could leverage hardware and software to perform unwanted or damaging behavior that would disrupt public safety response to the citizens of Michigan.

“MSP continues to remain proactive in cybersecurity research of our fleet vehicles that we rely upon to ensure the safety of our troopers while on patrol and when responding to emergencies for the citizens of Michigan,” said D/F/Lt. Jim Ellis of the Michigan Cyber Command Center (MC3). “Our collaboration and partnerships within the automotive cybersecurity industry are invaluable and allow us to work collaboratively in identifying any vulnerabilities prior to our adversaries, so we can mitigate them”.

Due to safety concerns, the cyber-attacks conducted on moving vehicles were conducted on the MSP test track, located outside Lansing, MI. The National Cyber Director and other participants were able to experience the cyber-attacks while operating the vehicles. Valuable insights from GVSC and GRIMM were provided to the MSP for review.

Several exploits were demonstrated showing the effect on first responder mission accomplishment, highlighting how connected and autonomous vehicles could serve as an attack vector impacting both economic stability and national security. Already, GVSC has been researching and developing capabilities to enhance military vehicle cyber resiliency. These capabilities may be applied to commercial vehicles providing dual-use benefits to state and federal agencies and the private sector. GVSC’s public/private partnerships with the State of Michigan, companies like GRIMM, the automotive industrial sector, the MEDC, MSP, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and other federal agencies, were at center stage.

The vehicle demonstration showcased the impact of having public-private partnerships in vehicle cyber security in Michigan. Jennifer Tisdale, CEO of GRIMM, said, “GRIMM Cyber research believes in the power of Public-Private Partnerships and is mission-focused on increasing the cyber resilience across all modalities of transportation and critical infrastructure. We’re proud to support this demonstration and hope it serves to improve vehicle security for all.”

News of this successful visit comes during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which since 2004 has been recognized to help individuals protect themselves online as threats to technology and confidential data become more frequent. Michigan is focused on finding innovative solutions to prevent and respond to cyber threats with an emphasis on building a strong “cyber ecosystem” of partners in both the public and private sectors. As home to wide-ranging initiatives like the CyberAuto, CyberTruck and CyberBoat challenges and ranking among the top states for job opportunities in emerging tech sectors, the state continues to be at the forefront of critical developments in this rapidly growing industry.

To learn more about the state’s cybersecurity industry and tech initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org/tech.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.