Fundamentals of automotive security

In the last decade, it has become commonplace to connect various devices to the internet and available online services. Having those devices send information across the internet for control and the collection of data.  Following suit, the automotive industry has embraced this Internet of Things (IoT) approach of introducing spectacular innovations into vehicles.

According to the world health organization, around 1.3 million people die each year due to road traffic crashes. The implementation of automated systems that could avoid these lethal collisions, is most definitely worth it. In recent years more sensors have been connected to vehicles’ communication modules, transmitting information about the real-time status of their various onboard systems.

This means that vehicles have essentially been transformed from machinery, isolated from external real-time communication to networked devices on the internet. Although it opens countless possibilities for innovation and lifestyle improvements, it also introduces new risks.

Unwarranted access to these types of automotive connections has become a very lucrative cache for many malicious actors. Becoming as much of a reality and risk as they are for organizations with networked servers and personal computers.

Securing these automotive systems has become a priority of automotive manufacturers in the last couple of years. The reality is that with every new line of code that is added to the connected device, security vulnerabilities could be introduced.

We are bringing the following key dimensions into focus. These dimensions were derived from the ISO/SAE 21434 industry standard and provide the framework for our discussion.

Identifying Possible threats

It is an industry standard as part of any software development lifecycle to identify possible security flaws that might exist or might be introduced by the proposed development. Manufacturers have many ways to identify these risks.

  • Analyzing the feedback from applied technology. By breaking down application security feedback of existing technologies. This becomes especially relevant in the event of an actual data breach.
  • Analysis of dominant technology trends in the industry. When new technology enters the industry, manufacturers might want to observe the performance of such technology before deploying such advancements into their vehicles.

Determining Risk Levels

Going hand in hand with the identification of possible threats is the classification of risk levels. Manufacturers need to be able to determine the risk level of IoT technology being included in their vehicles.  Being able to define the cybersecurity risks is the first step for manufacturers to have realistic expectations about security solutions and by extension security solution providers.

Applying countermeasures

To address these risks manufacturers need to partner with Automotive Cybersecurity specialists in the automotive industry to effectively secure online automotive systems. Most industry leaders host their proprietary Big Data analytics solutions in the cloud, linking it directly to their real-time cyber threat detection.

When looking for a cyber-security partner, the following list details some of the possible services being offered.

An emergency Security Operations Centre is required for connected vehicles. This center will be providing first-line support for the fleet. These centers offer breach detection and reaction in the case of any cyber-security anomalies taking place. They are also responsible for protecting fleets from any further breaches once a vulnerability has been discovered.

Big data is the collection and curation of all the sensory data collected from fleet vehicles and can be saved into the cloud for data mining at a later stage. With this rich granulated data, scenario-based modeling becomes possible. This allows insurance underwriters to create highly specific insurance profiles and offer tailor-made solutions, saving organizations money and increasing return on investment of supply chain divisions.

Essentially, any kind of information can be mined from Big Data, collected from fleet vehicles.

Post-processing fleet data into legible business intelligence grants business owners information to make informed decisions, and drive their organizational supply chain targets.

Security solutions to protect interconnected vehicles are frequently being developed and improved. With real-time monitoring of IoT connections built into vehicle systems, a synergy of both safety and functionality can be achieved.

Collecting and curating sensory fleet data into cloud-based analytics solutions has become one of the most powerful tools for manufacturers to enhance innovation and overall passenger safety.

Collected data can also be leveraged to produce the most business value.  Ultimately Automotive Cybersecurity vendors aim to eliminate the risks to your vehicle as well as steward your safety every day.  Partnering with the right security industry powerhouse can mean the difference between costly security breaches and excellent track records.

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