Hackers under the hood

It’s been five years since the first reports of car hacking emerged, but despite progress in vehicle protection standards, automotive cyber-security remains on high alert.

New vehicles are packed with so much ICT that they are effectively ’data centres on wheels. They run millions of lines of onboard software: from advance driver assistance systems and engine sensors, to satnav and infotainment. Connected cars also process large volumes of incoming-outgoing data that flows through computerised componentry to ensure they arrive safely and efficiently at journey’s end.

Such ‘smart’ technology relies on bidirectional wireless links to communicate with devices and services in the wider world. However, they also make a vehicle more hackable as the extra functionality extends the ‘attack surface’ that cyber threats target. Each new service/capability brings new entry points: new data breach opportunities. Meanwhile, automotive smartphone apps and online support services have introduced back-end bugs exploitable by hackers intent on remote manipulation of a road vehicle’s inner technology.

According to Upstream Security’s ‘Global Automotive Cybersecurity Report 2020’, the number of known automotive cyber-security incidents almost doubled between 2018 and 2019. The study’s research team analysed 367 publicly reported automotive cyber-attack incidents since 2010, 155 of which are from 2019. These latest figures equate to a 94 per cent year-on-year growth.

 

To read the full article:  https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2020/03/hackers-under-the-hood/

Author: James Hayes