Data-Driven Vehicles Are the Next Security Challenge
Thu, February 2, 2023

Data-Driven Vehicles Are the Next Security Challenge

Many new vehicles have been incorporated with “smart” technology / Photo Credit: posteriori (via Shutterstock)


Soon, every car manufacturer that offers any degree of vehicle autonomy will be mandated to address the security of your vehicle and your data while defending itself (and you) against vulnerabilities, explained Nate Pool of security news channel Help Net Security. This is not new. In fact, manufacturers and their software development partners have been creating, implementing, and evolving their security practices and threat detection techniques for the past two decades. The insights and awareness gained from these experiences will play a more critical role as vehicles become more autonomous. As expected, new vehicle-related risks and vulnerabilities will emerge. However, manufacturers have to change the way they go about securing their AVs.

Currently, many new vehicles are based on older designs that have been incorporated with “smart” technology like sensors, Bluetooth, and the like. To enhance the driver and passenger experience, the industry has used COTS (commercial/consumer off-the-shelf) technology for things such as sound systems, navigation systems, and more. However, some vehicle manufacturers have exposed security risks, albeit unintentionally. For example, a tablet-based control console can create a new attack vector that malicious actors can exploit to compromise a vehicle. Fortunately, automotive OEMs have acknowledged the challenges posed by smarter, more connected vehicle platforms, making security a key priority. 

Chances are, your next vehicle will be a part of a network, talking with satellites via GPS and to the manufacturer for updates. Most likely, it will communicate wirelessly with other vehicles on the road to understand and react to traffic problems, hazards, and other information vehicles in front or behind it might share to help optimize your commute. Your vehicle will likely observe and learn your behavioral patterns, checking in with you if it senses something odd. When a person is seen as a “stranger,” your vehicle will analyze how you react. Then, it will confirm with you and “decide” how to behave.

But issues regarding data security transcends beyond communications. Manufacturers and fleet operators need to think about which data to store and for how long, as well as how personal data will be handled. AVs will revolutionize transportation but manufacturers need to make them safe for consumers to use. Fortunately, network and data security are solvable issues.