Tuesday, 21 July 2020 22:58

Protecting Connected Cars’ Over-the-Air Software Updates

Written by John Tuttle, Wards Auto


Between news surrounding data privacy, company data breaches and evolving regulations such as CCPA and GDPR, security is a hot topic in just about every industry.

And right now, “Zoombombing” is giving work-from-home videoconference attendees reason to feel uneasy. Security impacts every aspect of our lives, including the vehicles we drive.


Yet, drivers generally aren’t aware of automotive security issues.


This is probably because drivers don’t understand how dependent their vehicle is on software or how much data their vehicle is collecting and are blind to the possibility that it could be hacked to compromise its safety.


Therefore, it’s imperative that auto manufacturers and suppliers have high standards when it comes to ensuring vehicle security on behalf of consumers.


Why Security Frameworks Are Necessary


As cars become increasingly connected to support the latest technological developments such as advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous driving features, they will have an increasing amount of physical or virtual electronic control units (ECUs) and the software that powers them.


While more technology advances mean improved consumer utility and satisfaction, the more software cars have, the more vulnerable they will be to cybersecurity breaches, malicious hacking and data theft.


Over-the-air (OTA) updates in cars will be necessary to keep the vehicle software up-to-date and to rapidly identify and address vulnerabilities, but unfortunately OTA updates can themselves be compromised to hack a vehicle.


Strong automotive-grade OTA security frameworks are necessary to add a layer of protection keeping drivers---and their data---safe.


The Benefits of Security Framework Standards


Safety and security have always been a major focus of the automotive industry. But as vehicle sophistication and connectivity increase, the industry needs to move toward the creation and adoption of industrywide open security standards.


Standardization is important because it sets the principles, rules and guidelines for the entire industry to follow and is based on thorough and consistent peer reviews and technical evaluations.

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