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Connected Car Security Is Something That Automakers Can't Overlook

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【Summary】According to IoTnews, connected car security lacks the standardized framework and specification to protect stored data, the vehicle, and its occupants from being hacked.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jan 26, 2017 4:42 PM PT
Connected Car Security Is Something That Automakers Can't Overlook

Cars are quickly becoming large computers on wheels. Autonomous vehicles that can drive without any human intervention are arriving in the near future, while connected vehicles that allow passengers to stay connected to the Internet at all times are already on the road. According to a report by Business Insider Intelligence from 2015, 75 percent of vehicles sold in 2020 will come with the required hardware to connect to the Internet. 

While social media lovers and millennials will love the idea of being connected 24/7, connected vehicles are poised to play a large role in transforming the driving experience and will have a large role in the Internet of Things (IoT), claims a report by IoTechnews. And the security systems that are currently being used to protect passengers' data, as well as vehicles' hardware desperately needs to be improved. 

What Needs To Be Changed

As noted by the report, the current crop of security solutions that are being used to protect crucial information within is okay, "but lack detailed specification and a matured, standardized framework." So what can be done about it? According to the outlet, vehicles with connected capabilities need to be re-architected using modularized software with Role Based Access Control (RBAC). In addition to this, vehicles need to have proactive measures for any future software updates, as well as the ability to be fixed via Over-the-Air (OTA) systems, claims IoTechnews

Utilizing an OTA system in connected vehicles is a mandatory requirement, as cars need to be able to evolve to new threats. As the report points out, being able to implement fixes as they are exposed is something automakers are neglecting. "Therefore, the speed at which OTA fixes can be implemented when a vulnerability is exposed represents a major overlooked opportunity in automotive security." 

As pointed out in the report, OTA systems can be used for various systems that are currently found in automobiles. Electronic Control Units (ECUs), navigation systems, along with infotainment and telematics systems can be updated and altered through an OTA system. With the National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NHTSB) required to work with the Federal Trade Commission on cyber-security guidelines for OEM manufacturers, a standardized OTA system would drastically help improve security among connected cars. 

Yes, Hackers Do Exist

While setting up an OTA system sounds like overkill, there were multiple instances of hackers being able to remotely control vehicles last year. In the summer of 2015, a pair of hackers demonstrated how to hack into Chrysler's vehicle, stopping a Jeep Cherokee on a highway. The display prompted the automaker to recall approximately 1.4 million cars to ensure it wouldn't happen again. Even the FBI was so taken aback by the display that the administration issued a warning to drivers over the threat of an Internet attack on vehicles. Some states have even increased penalities to ensure hackers are adequately punished. 

Security, as outlined by IoTechnews, needs to excel at the same, if not faster, rate as the entire automotive industry. Working together as a whole will result in new technology that will make connected vehicles safer than ever. 

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