It’s no secret that modern technology and its benefits are constantly making changes in the way we think and build things. In fact, it has allowed us to do many things we considered impossible in the past, like vehicle electrification, for example.
While electric vehicles are the future and their market of EVs is rapidly increasing, the need for automotive cybersecurity has been rising too. Namely, many cars rely on electric parts now more than ever before. This has made automobiles as vulnerable to cyber-attacks as any other computer system.
What Is Automotive Cybersecurity?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also known as the NHTSA, defines automotive cybersecurity as the protection of all electronic systems within a vehicle from malicious attacks. This includes the networks, software, and control algorithms, as well as the user data and information in your vehicle.
Modern automobiles rely on several computers to control almost every system within them. In addition to playing music and GPS navigation, essential car parts like the steering wheel breaks and even the engine depend on computer software.
Namely, there are different ways that a potential hacker can gain access into your vehicle:
- Direct physical attack – Such an attack can only happen if the attacker enters or breaks into your car. Then, they can install software or hardware into your vehicle, which can later be used to take control of your car remotely.
- Indirect physical attack – This method is similar to the first one, though in this case, the attacker can be someone you “let” in. For example, they will ask you to plug in a malware-infected USB drive or SD card, which will grant them access to your car later.
- Exploiting wireless vulnerabilities – This method exploits the vulnerabilities of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even GPS technologies. Thus, the attacker does not even need to be in the vicinity of your vehicle to hack into it.
- Exploiting sensor vulnerabilities – Luckily, there is no documented case of gaining unauthorized access by exploiting the sensors, but this threat is real.
Preventing these attacks and securing your vehicle is based on three main principles:
- Access control and authentication – By using security control tools and user authentication, you can decide who is allowed to do what in your car.
- External attacks protection – Using security systems to protect you from malware will almost certainly prevent unauthorized third parties from gaining access.
- Detection of incidents and response – Timely reporting and responding in the unfortunate case of an incident occurring.
Why Would One Need an Automotive Cybersecurity Solution?
The fact that there are multiple computer systems that are vulnerable to a cyber-attack in your vehicle should raise a concern. In simpler terms, this means that hackers can gain access and steal personal information like your GPS location from your car. Even worse, they can take control of systems and command your car remotely. While losing control of your wipers and AC can be irritating, the thought of losing control over your lights, steering wheel, breaks, or even the engine is frightening.
The foundation of automotive cybersecurity software solutions is laid in building multiple layers of protection. Since attackers have so many ways of gaining access and control of the computer systems in your automobile, several means of protection are needed to truly secure it. If the hacker can somehow get past one of the layers, another one should be in place to guard your car against the attack. These are the four pillars that every automotive cybersecurity solution is based on:
- Data encryption – this is a method old as data itself – encrypted data remains private and protected at all times.
- Communication authentication – gives you control over who has access to specific parts of your vehicle.
- Communication protection – includes the communication within your vehicle as well as the external communication with other outside vehicles or electrical devices.
- Integration of firewalls – in simpler terms, this means having all the right solutions needed to properly protect your vehicle, including systems of identification, and reporting on threats.
Automotive cybersecurity is a growing market for a good reason. As more and more modern cars increase the use of electronics, electrical vehicles have become prone to cyber-attacks. We know that all software solutions have vulnerabilities, so hackers are always looking to find new ways of exploiting them. The best way to stay protected and keep \fcontrol of your vehicle in your hands at all times is by relying on a reliable automotive cybersecurity solution.