HACMS Receives Prestigious DARPA “Game Changer” Award

This week, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) bestowed its most prestigious accolade, the Game Changer Award, on the team responsible for the groundbreaking High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program, in which Galois played a key role. 

Presented to DARPA I2O Director Kathleen Fisher, Galois Founder and Chief Scientist John Launchbury, and Dynetics Software Director Ray Richards (all erstwhile HACMS program managers), the award honors the significant and lasting impact HACMS has had over the past decade as the “gold standard” in the realm of cybersecurity and cyber military operations.

A cornerstone of HACMS’ success is Galois’ development of mathematically assured techniques to keep processes separate with only necessary permissions, provide rigorous communications checks that defend against malicious messages, and whole system analysis to ensure correct configurations. Harnessing the power of these innovations, the HACMS team developed SMACCMPilot, a hack-proof flight controller for small quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and HACMS flagship application. The resultant “hack-proof” technology was demonstrated in real time at DARPA I2O’s Demo Day in May, 2014, and even featured in a 60 Minutes profile in 2015. 

In the years since its launch, the technological foundation laid by HACMS has served as a catalyst for Galois spinouts Tangram Flex and ExistX, and a new era of cyber defense.


All software underpinning SMACCMPilot is open-source, available on GitHub, and documented extensively on the project website.