Security Solution for Heavy Vehicle Control Units

Multiport Gateway for Securing SAE J1708/1587 Protocol Networks

At a Glance

Researchers in the Systems Engineering department have developed a method to prevent cyberattacks on heavy vehicle electronic control units. This gateway system protection is installed into existing standard J1708/1587 networks and creates an intrusion detection system. The gateway system has been deployed, tested, and evaluated on a heavy vehicle simulator, and shown to mitigate security risks for heavy vehicles.


Heavy vehicles such as semi-trucks are a component of “critical infrastructure”, which is defined as essential assets for a functioning society and economy. The electronic control units (ECU) are particularly vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks, such as unintentional information disclosure, theft, disruption of use, or damage. These ECUs control various subsystems and report information on a shared network pertaining to control steering, braking, powertrain, and other vehicle dynamics.

While a widespread attack on heavy vehicles is not a present danger, the risk of incidents involving small fleets or individuals is a concern. A cyber-attack facilitated by vulnerabilities inherent to exposed onboard and wireless network communication could disrupt supply chains, logistics, and prevent the transport of goods.


The developed gateway hardware allows for detection of cyberattacks in heavy vehicles using the J1708/1587 network. The embedded software detects intrusions but still allows trusted information to remain available. These low-cost embedded platforms solve a noted vulnerability in electronic control units using J1708/1587 networks.


  • Enables network defense in heavy duty vehicle systems
  • Reduces risk of cyberattack on critical infrastructure
  • Addresses state of the art vulnerabilities inherent to legacy equipment standards
  • Embedded gateway platform is simple to install on existing ECUs
  • Tested in retrofitted heavy vehicle simulator, demonstrated protection against logical and functional inconsistencies


  • Cybersecurity on heavy vehicle networks
Last Updated: May 2023
A semi truck

Available for Licensing
TRL: 4

IP Status

US Provisional Patent


David C. Nnaji
Jeremy Daily

Reference Number
Licensing Manager

Aly Hoeher