High Assurance Design Environment

A new tool enables mission system designers to design for functionality and security together and provide evidence for how design choices affect a mission’s security posture.
HARDEN interface screenshot
The screenshot of HARDEN shows part of the design methodology that breaks down a system’s mission into mission-essential functions. This breakdown allows designers to score the system’s assurance on the basis of HARDEN’s security analysis.

Systems that can assure mission success by resiliently counteracting cyberattacks are difficult to develop, and the means to effectively evaluate them are often missing from a system designer’s toolbox. Our High Assurance Design Environment (HARDEN) software tool allows system designers to assess the security and assurance of their mission and to justify their design decisions with quantifiable measurements.

HARDEN provides three key capabilities: it ties a system’s functional requirements and its cybersecurity needs together to facilitate their codesign at the early stage of system development; it supplies metrics to let developers quantifiably evaluate the security of the system and thus give direction to design improvements to the system; and it allows stakeholders to determine the costs and return on investment of implementing cybersecurity requirements.

The analyses done within HARDEN are saved and may be incorporated into future designs of other systems that support similar capabilities. This ability not only saves development time, but also allows for developing standardized, secure systems across organizations. The tool is currently being used to evaluate and design microelectronics systems and platforms for unmanned aircraft systems. We are looking for opportunities to work with new sponsors and users to mature and expand HARDEN’s capabilities and apply them to new mission systems such as space, airborne, and industrial control systems.