Toward Tomorrow’s Organically Secure Vehicle

Autonomy, a leading use case for the connected vehicle, has the promise of being one of the most significant safety mechanisms the world has ever built. But autonomy and security go hand in hand; autonomy and trust exist in equal measure: if we trust the autonomous technology in the vehicle we will deploy it widely and if we do not it will remain a laboratory curiosity. Trust depends crucially on security in and around the car. Simply stated, the more we trust in the safety and security of self-driving cars, the more we will use them, and the more society will benefit.

FASTR believes we collectively have the opportunity, and responsibility, today to re-architect the vehicle in such a way that cybersecurity is at its very foundation. This must be coordinated across the entire, evolving automotive supply chain. We believe that tomorrow’s connected and automated vehicles should be “organically secure”—systematically more able to deal with inevitable cybersecurity threats in a safe and predictable manner.

Accelerating the realization of tomorrow’s organically secure vehicles demands tangible research deliverables today—reference architectures, proofs of concept and other theoretical and applied research—that would help automakers reduce risks and liabilities, foster trust in autonomous vehicles and accelerate the safety and quality-of-life benefits that these vehicles promise. FASTR supports inclusive, diverse, multifaceted cybersecurity research collaboration across the evolving automotive ecosystem. We recognize that automotive security is not a problem that can be solved by a single organization, technology, or in silos. And that the magnitude and scope of the emerging challenges demand no less than an industry-wide response.

The Challenge Shared
Tomorrow’s automobile will be built around software, as opposed to today’s reality of software being wrapped around the vehicle. As a result, the automobile of the future will have a significantly expanded cyber-attack surface, rendering automotive security a rapidly intensifying area of industry and government focus.

All existing security technologies have evolved to address the emerging threats of their time, and we can expect automotive security to do so, as well. But it is also true that public safety could be jeopardized and breaches and awareness of potential security issues could inhibit deployment of autonomous vehicles and realization of their potential benefits, without a substantially more concerted and coordinated effort in cybersecurity today. The risk is with slowing the adoption of the revolutionary societal benefits from autonomous driving: dramatic reduction in accidents, alleviation of city congestion, mobility for all, and more. The unprecedented adoption of technology into modern vehicles without rigorous Security Design Lifecycle methodologies applied in a “system of systems” approach will create unacceptable risks.

Vehicles today are undergoing dramatic transformation of software content, connectivity, services and autonomy. Forecasts call for 150 million connected cars on roadways by 2020. We are moving from a current state of limited but expanding vehicle connectivity (telematics, infotainment, etc.) to a highly complex, fully connected environment including vehicle to vehicle (V2V), vehicle to infrastructure control (V2I) and vehicle-to everything (V2X). The wireless interfaces on modern vehicles has evolved in include all the conveniences modern life demands, like WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular, GPS, digital broadcast radio, and even your tire pressure monitor system. The industry should be concerned that XXXX stated that . Today’s emerging capabilities for vehicle automation are being overtaken by a pervasive, highly developed state of automation. And while today’s telemetric data analytics primarily concentrate on vehicle performance and location, tomorrow’s will be focused on consumer experience and personal data. Along the way, the connected vehicle will rely more and more on external systems and networks to support new services and interactions.

These are seismic shifts that the automotive ecosystem is undertaking, calling up significant, interrelated requirements for trust in security:

  • Trust in data confidentiality—Vehicle and operator data must not be divulged without the permission of the operator.
  • Trust in data & system integrity—Vehicle and operator data must not be compromised or altered.
  • Trust in data & system availability—Vehicle and operator data must be available to the systems and services that rely on them.

Today’s modern luxury vehicle contains more than 100 million lines of code, and approaching 100 Electronic Control Units (ECU’s) within the vehicle. While the industry labors mightily to fuse together automotive security across this exploding complex architecture, the challenge clearly expands beyond the borders of any one software application or hardware chip alone in addressing the growth of tremendous security vulnerabilities.

To deliver on the requirements for multi-layered, seamless trust and security—and arrive at the organically secure vehicle that the world will require—two strategies are essential. First, the complexity of today’s vehicle must be comprehended in layers; communication channels must be protected among vehicles and devices, within the communications infrastructure, and within the data center. Second, recognizing that automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) rely on complex supply chains, these supply chains must be organized to align with best practices for security and production of verifiably trustworthy technology components. The automotive security challenges demand both a deep and wide solution.

What can be done?

  • Defense in Depth—Threat modeling, vulnerability assessment, security architecture, trusted supply chains and cybersecurity assurance are needed throughout all layers of automotive security:
    • In-vehicle systems (platform boot integrity and Chain of Trust, secure storage for keys and data, secure communication, secure debug, tamper detection and protection from side channel attacks, etc.)
    • Connectivity and the cloud (fast cryptographic performance, device identification, isolated execution, message authentication, etc.)
    • Applications, consumer/enterprise capabilities and end to end use cases (over-the-air updates, intrusion detection and prevention systems, anomaly detection, network enforcement, certificate-management services, anti-malware and remote monitoring, biometrics, etc.)
  • Hardware Security Features—Multi-layered defense in depth also demands security features in the silicon. Hardware hardened trusted execution environements, secure boot, secure key storage, crypto accelerators, hardware virtualization, etc. are critical to the overall security integrity of the vehicle architecture.
  • Vehicle Security Design Lifecycle—It is critical that formal and predictable processes be implemented to ensure compliance to security policies. An intentional and proactive approach to consolidation and interconnection of vehicle systems must be present from the outset of design, and it must continue right through to the production and operation stages. Best practices for production processes must contribute to design components being correctly implemented. Code reviews, component-and system-level penetration tests, continuous validation of security assumptions, inbound and outbound materials processes, maintenance and upgrade plans and feedback loops for continuous learning and improvement are key for clearly linking implementation back to secure design properties.
  • Threat Intelligence—Threat analysis and risk assessment must continue throughout the life of tomorrow’s organically secure vehicle. Techniques such as over-the-air software or firmware patches and upgrades can help quickly close vulnerabilities (and significantly reduce recall costs). Threat intelligence can help prioritize cybersecurity threats by associated risk and illuminate appropriate incident response.

The Evolving Automotive Ecosystem: A Unified Approach

Automakers have a long history of working together (sharing antenna, battery and powertrain technologies, for example), and significant activity is taking place across the growing automotive ecosystem, with communities of interest developing and rallying around various aspects of the security challenges. Still, the cast of contributors in the automotive ecosystem is rapidly evolving, and, until now, coordination has been poor across the increasing diversity of players.

Whereas automotive OEMs are experts at building cars through supply chains, they traditionally have not looked at the car as a system (or as software) in the way that cybersecurity experts might. The autonomous space, with its increased reliance on software, is rapidly expanding the traditional automotive ecosystem to include a broader group of companies than ever, and a unified approach across across all of them through technology-sharing initiatives is necessary for automotive security.. A holistic, systems-level approach across the full cast of contributors to the organically secure vehicle of the future is required:

  • OEMs
  • Sharing economy automotive vendors
  • Automotive supply chain providers (Tier 1s and Tier 2s)
  • Autonomous vehicle specialists
  • SoC providers and hardware and software suppliers
  • Specialist automotive security companies

Enabling Innovation in Automotive Security, FASTR

FASTR—”Future of Automotive Security Technology Research”—seeks to enable innovation in automotive security by delivering the actionable applied and theoretical R&D needed now to ensure trust in the connected and autonomous vehicle of the future. FASTR brings together the auto industry veterans and disruptors, technology giants and startups, academics and hackers from across the evolving automotive supply chain delivering advanced concepts, to drive the agile, iterative research that the automotive ecosystem today lacks. (The inclusive community was founded by Aeris, Intel and Uber in 2016 and was formerly known as the “Automotive Security Review Board.”)

FASTR will:

  • Deliver pre-competitive technological building blocks, such as white papers, reference architectures, code samples, workshops, and best known methods that automotive OEMs can customize and use to drive requirements across their supply chains.
  • Study future automotive cyber-physical security risks, identify mitigating technologies and solutions and publicly and privately share critical findings and recommendations to the industry.
  • Collaborate with like-minded organizations worldwide to help the automotive industry get in front of next-generation security risks and technologies making the world a safer place.
  • Help the automotive industry get cybersecurity right, from the beginning.

Join us.

FASTR seeks to collaborate with complementary, like-minded organizations and individuals worldwide including automakers, OEMs and security professionals. Your expertise, input and perspective are needed as FASTR marshals industry-wide collaboration on the creation of future architectures and greenfield approaches—not temporary fixes to legacy solutions—to ensure the safety and security of autonomous vehicles and connected cars moving forward. Get involved today.