Uber, Intel, and IoT Firm Announce Union to Make Connected Cars Secure

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【Summary】Various technology firms including Intel, Uber, and IoT provider Aeris, have formed an alliance to ensure that connected cars of the future are secure.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Feb 19, 2017 12:30 PM PT
Uber, Intel, and IoT Firm Announce Union to Make Connected Cars Secure

Automakers are promising that the next generation of cars will be smarter than ever with the ability to talk to one another and even to a grid. Audi, for instance, launched a feature at the end of last year that lets its vehicles communicate with traffic lights. The vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) capability lets drivers know when red lights will turn green

While Audi's example of what's to come sounds like something that would make driving less of a hassle in urban areas, there are some things to be concerned about when it comes to the next-generation of automotive technology. Hackers, for example, have revealed just how vulnerable autonomous and smart cars are to being taken over. There were a few examples of hackers gaining access to vehicles last year, with Promon, a Norwegian security company, hacking into a Tesla Model S from a few miles away, as one of the standouts.  

Building A Safer Tomorrow Together

To ensure that connected cars of the future are safe from hackers and other cyber security threats, Uber, Intel, and Aeris, an internet of things (IoT) provider, have formed a union called Future of Automotive Security Technology Research (FASTR). 

In a manifesto released earlier this month, FASTR urged automakers to join its cause and help the coalition redesign the future of the automobile with cyber security at the forefront. As outlined in FASTR's lengthy goals, the coalition plans to help automakers and OEMs to customize and help change their requirements by delivering pre-competitive technological building blocks, which include white papers, code samples, and workshops. 

FASTR also plans to study future risks to help identify solutions for the entire automotive industry. Lastly, to help get the industry in front of any cyber security issues, the union plans to collaborate with organizations around the world. 

According to the manifesto, FASTR believes that two strategies are necessary to ensure that vehicles have a multi-layered security system. Those strategies include having protected communication channels within the communications infrastructure and within the data center itself, as well as ensuring that supply chains for OEMs are organized and ready to align with practices for future security measures. 

Proactive, Not Reactive

There are also four points that FASTR believes will help ring in a future that has cyber security in its sights. Defense in Depth, hardware security features, vehicle security design lifecycle, and threat intelligence are key points that the companies believe will help it stay in front of any issues. FATR's approach to establish a Security Design Lifecycle process takes a proactive approach by doing code reviews, component- and system-level testing, validation of security assumptions, and more. 

"FASTR membership is open to all companies across the automotive ecosystem, including rivals, with the belief that together through a holistic, systems-level approach we can move more quickly toward the organically secure vehicle of the future," Craig Hurts, executive director of FASTR, told SC Media.  

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