Cyber Attacks Against Vehicles On The Rise

The market should be more concerned about automotive security and safety.


Who is worried about automotive security and safety? I, for one, most definitely am! I’ve written previously about how tackling this problem makes good business sense. But the more immersed I become in this topic, the more I feel personally concerned about the implications of this, and the snail’s-pace at which the market is responding to it.

I’ve just read an Upstream Security report which indicates that cyber-incidents in vehicles in Q1 2019 are up more than 300 percent against the same period last year. This is alarming! Even more alarming is that in these incidents, black-hat hackers are tipping the scales. No longer can the automotive companies believe that these attacks are somehow “less dangerous” because they were originated by the white-hat community.

The impact of cyber-security on the industry is predicted to be massive – with the cost of recalls expected to be north of $25B per annum in just a handful of years. But what about the impact to the person on the street?

Having your car stolen, or your data stolen as a result of your vehicle being hacked could have significant consequences, ranging from the inconvenience of sorting out a replacement vehicle to financial loss related to replacement, to increased insurance premiums, all the way through to breaches of other personal systems such as bank accounts, etc.

Even more worrying would be if someone took control of your vehicle or a vehicle driving near you – interfering with the steering or the brakes or other critical driving systems. Imagine the potential consequences! The report shows that a shocking 14% of the Q1 attacks fall into this category. Would you be comfortable driving a vehicle knowing that this is a real possibility?

The industry is waiting on the emergence of the ISO21434 standard, and we are sure that it will help solidify best practice to eliminate many of these security concerns. Meanwhile, though, UltraSoC’s anomaly detection in hardware is “better than best practice,” with proven ability to identify security threats faster than any other solution. Our customers who are implementing this now will gain competitive advantage in the marketplace, and I certainly will feel safer driving a vehicle knowing that the electronics are secured by UltraSoC!

Just a reminder that you can download a copy of the presentation I gave on the topic of ‘Application-Independent Security Implementations using Hardware-Based Features’ at the recent IQPC Safety and Security event.

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