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By Auto Tech Outlook | Monday, February 17, 2020

Cars and other vehicles have evolved since their inception. Today, automotive manufacturers face entirely different challenges than a decade ago and cybersecurity is one of them.

FREMONT, CA: Today, connected cars are manufactured more than ever, and people are using them on a daily basis. This indicates that hackers and bad actors have a bigger target and can easily manipulate these vehicles. Connected devices are vulnerable as any other internet-connected computer or a smartphone. According to experts, a vehicle’s CAN bus is eminently hackable, and there have been numerous incidents in which hackers took direct control of IoT devices. Complex software used in connected devices not only provides advanced functionality but also offers new opportunities for malware to take over.  A hacker stealing a user’s credit card details is not pleasant. However, compromising a vehicle's braking and steering system could cause a passenger or a driver to lose their lives.

The number of reported hack attacks increased six times in 2018, as there were three times more connected devices than earlier. Besides, connected vehicles are a bigger target drawing the attention of more hackers. A repository of data on connected vehicles lists dozens of different attacks such as Tesla 3’s onboard computer hack or an attack on BMW’s infotainment, telematics, and ECUs. Such a repository of attacks can help auto manufacturers to take preventive measures. However, deploying a security measure is tough, as most vulnerabilities are unknown until an attack happens. With increased sales of connected vehicles, more sophisticated and connected attacks are expected.       

Attacks on connected vehicles are increased significantly enough to prompt the FBI to issue a warning to issue new automotive cybersecurity standards for self-driving vehicles.  OEMs have realized that consumers, as well as regulators, will be looking forward to security. To solve the security problem, OEMs no longer depend on their component suppliers. Instead, they are seeking help from cybersecurity experts.  OEMs and security companies are working together and monitoring the network to examine ECU for unusual activity. The FTC and the NHTSA are investigating connected vehicle systems for automotive cybersecurity and privacy issues. The automotive industry had been entirely disrupted since its invention merely a century ago. Today, the problems that concerned manufacturers, OEMs, and drivers are altogether different than a century ago. Over the next decade, the vehicles will evolve even more, and with evolution, automotive cybersecurity will become a challenge for manufacturers.

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