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Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:57

What to Expect: Vehicle Hacking, Accident Avoidance Technology & Cybersecurity


Vehicle Hacking

Donny Seyfer, chairman of ASA, moderated a session on vehicle hacking that featured Craig Smith, a reverse engineer and “white hat hacker,” and Mahbubul Alam, who specializes in developing solutions to respond to vehicle hacking.

As a “white hat hacker,” Smith tests what the “bad guys” might do to hack a car. “If I want to go after a vehicle, typically what I’ll do for the most impact is see how far away I can manipulate the physical aspects of the car,” he said. He will usually look at 3G or cellular connections and attempt to unlock the doors or start the vehicle. Smith predicted that encryption will increasingly be utilized to address hacking as more technology is incorporated into vehicles.

With the development of new software, connectivity and content all happening at the same time, Alam said that over the next 10 years consumers and shops are probably going to see the the biggest change in vehicles since the days of Henry Ford.

He gave a simple analogy, comparing the vehicles of today to a hamburger. Like a burger with all of the different layers of condiments, the technologies in vehicles are being added on top of one another. “They have never been designed to be a single system,” said Alam. “They all came from different suppliers. Security was just an afterthought that came along.”

He stressed the importance of designing security for vehicles from the ground up and referred to the five “Cs” that will need to be addressed:

1) Chipsets (that go into your electronics)
2) Clients
3) Connectivity
4) Cloud-based
5) Content being shared

While developing future security systems, Alam said car manufacturers should consider borrowing best practices from other industries such as finance, defense, utility, aviation and manufacturing, to determine how they might apply to vehicles.

The amount of software and technology going into cars is increasing every year. Currently, vehicles have approximately 80 percent hardware and 20 percent software. Analysts project that nine years from now, in 2025, it is estimated there will be 60 percent software and 40 percent hardware.

With the close link between data and software, Alam said manufacturers will need to monitor what types of software are on the vehicles to make updates when new solutions are launched and monitor how they are functioning. This is similar to a mobile phone, which needs to be continually upgraded.

Also similar to a mobile phone, consumers will have the option to upgrade when and if they want to. “When it comes to vehicles, there are certain demographics they aren’t going to feel comfortable updating,” said Alam. Instead they will go to dealerships, which will become an extension of the OEMs when it comes to updates.

These are all new concepts for the auto industry and Alam stressed the importance of matching technology with human acceptance when deciding which solutions to use in vehicles that are manufactured in the future.

Summary of presentation based on information shared by Craig Smith, Theia Labs; and Mahbubul Alam, Movimento.

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