Why is securing the connected car critical for consumer well-being?

Connectivity has significantly enriched the function of automobiles and has transformed the driving experience. However, hackers finding are finding new ways to break into systems, extract sensitive information and even take control of Electronic Control Units (ECUs).

​The creators of Grand Theft Auto, the popular video game series based on motor vehicle theft, are known for punishing hackers in creative ways. In the real world, preventing hackers from attacking highly-connected vehicles is an ongoing challenge. A number of incidents in the past couple of years have highlighted the ease with which a car's braking system can be remotely hijacked—leading to dangerous consequences and expensive recalls.

What makes automotive cybersecurity so complex, is that a car is only as secure as the least of its Electronic Control Units (ECUs) or smart parts, which for a modern connected car number can total as many as 150. These parts span a wide range of technologies, vendors, and protocols, with minimal common ground. For an automotive cybersecurity solution to be practical, it needs to be vendor-agnostic to support out-of-the-box usage with a variety of OEMs. The consumer of today is a digital native who will not compromise on their car's cybersecurity, particularly if it is connected. With 250 million connected vehicles expected to be on the road by 2022, securing the car is becoming a top priority for OEMs worldwide.

“The time is now for the automotive industry to develop comprehensive security solutions that enable threat detection and promptly respond to cyber-attacks. End-to-end vehicular protection is a key differentiator—the consumer demands a fully secure car, especially if it is connected."​

A promising security solution draws from the proven premise that an insider knows best. Intelligent agents embedded in the car check the hardware of endpoint units, telematics units, and central gateways, and validate the communication between themselves and externally with authenticated operators. The data provided by these in-vehicle agents is then analyzed by centralized systems that translate it into actionable insights, also known as security patches that can be applied over-the-air (OTA). As a result, any potential hack or detected vulnerability gets fixed seamlessly.

​Statista predicts that 70 percent of light-duty vehicles and trucks will be connected to the internet by 2023, making the risk of large-scale hacking attacks a very real possibility. Moreover, in the brutally competitive automotive industry, automotive cybersecurity provides a significant competitive advantage. The consumer of today is a digital native for whom the end-to-end security of their connected car is a top priority. A robust automotive cybersecurity platform can provide new channels for revenue and a secure platform for continuous innovation.​

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