Can hackers take control of my vehicle?
If Hollywood is to be believed, we are all being monitored and our data horded by a multitude of digital interlopers and wrong-doers ranging from troublesome teenagers to rogue organizations.
This entertaining dramatization notwithstanding, the real-world risks are not fictitious. The motivations for malicious cyber meddling with a vehicle are very real, and every channel connecting it to the outside world is a potential route for unauthorized access – making the need for a robust security framework a pivotal aspect of connected and autonomous vehicles.
“The auto industry cannot afford a large-scale hacking of connected vehicles,” says Asaf Atzmon, Senior Director of Business Development & Marketing, Automotive Cybersecurity at HARMAN. “It would pose great safety risks and damage consumer confidence. Automotive cybersecurity threats are manageable, but automakers must take a proactive approach and continuously monitor the cybersecurity posture of their fleets alongside implementing in-vehicle countermeasures from the get-go, to provide complete visibility and remediation of security events and exploitable software vulnerabilities.”
According to Atzmon, one-hundred-percent protection against cyber attacks is not and can never be possible. Nevertheless, he insists that it is feasible to make the fortress of protection so strong and the potential gains from a breach so minimal as to render it impracticable and unattractive.
“The auto industry cannot afford a large-scale hacking of connected vehicles. It would pose great safety risks and damage consumer confidence. Automotive cybersecurity threats are manageable, but automakers must take a proactive approach.”
Some countries are setting up legislative frameworks to establish legal deterrents, while automakers and tier-1s are developing the necessary hardware and software. There is also the matter of social education and awareness. Consumers fully understand that locking doors and not leaving keys inside the car are standard behaviors for avoiding theft. Yet consumers should be more aware of the cyber threats of connected vehicles and understand what protective measures come as standard in their vehicles in order to strengthen trust and confidence.
HARMAN is at the forefront of developments in the field with HARMAN SHIELD, an end-to-end Intrusion Detection and Prevention Solution (IDPS), comprised of embedded software on key components within the vehicle, such as Digital Cockpit systems, Electronic Control Units (ECU), Gateways and Telematics Control Units, alongside the Cybersecurity Analytics Center (CSAC) in the backend. The HARMAN SHIELD solution provides detection, reporting, analysis, mitigation and response capabilities for any security-related threat.
“HARMAN SHIELD is fully integrated with another solution in HARMAN’s portfolio, Remote Vehicle Update Solution (over-the-air software updates), which is being used by 22 automakers on more than 40 million vehicles worldwide. The integrated solution allows them to manage vulnerabilities in their component-level repositories, conduct impact analysis of the cybersecurity posture of their fleet and trigger software campaigns for remediation” says Atzmon. “On top of that, our team is working relentlessly on cutting-edge solutions, heavily involved in industry organizations as Auto-ISAC, SAE International, JASPAR (Japan), SMART Range (Israel) and others, to help keep connected and autonomous vehicles protected.”