Secure Over-the-Air (OTA) software updates to be key in the Automotive Cyber Security Market
Massive vehicle recalls, massive fines-is there a better way?
After the second consecutive year of massive vehicle recalls and associated fines in the US, it is evident that the automotive industry needs a better, cheaper and quicker way to detect, report and fix defects. According to NHTSA’s administrator Mark Rosekind, more than 51 million vehicles were recalled in 2015 in almost 900 separate recalls, comparing to 803 in 2014.
First major cyber security-related recall in 2015-more to follow?
Safety-related recalls, primarily the defects in Takata’s airbags and General Motors’ ignitions, contributed the most in the new record-setting recall number in the world’s second largest car market.
However, during 2015, we experienced what we consider as the first major recall due a cyber security vulnerability -even though it was exposed by white hackers rather than organised crime. In detail, Fiat Chrysler had to recall 1.4 million cars to update the software in the affected vehicles after cyber security researchers were able to remotely infiltrate a 2014 Jeep equipped with Harman’s U-Connect.
More cyber security-related vulnerabilities where report last year, namely in BMW’s Connected Drive, GM’s OnStar and Tesla, but because models from these three carmakers feature OTA updates, the vulnerabilities were fixed via remote deployment of software patches.
Security is a whole new dimension in Connected Cars driven by the increasing role of software in modern cars
But as the number of ECUs, interconnected via CAN, MOST and other IVNs, increases in modern vehicles, the role and cost of software becomes more and more important, due to its growing amount and complexity.
OTA software updates as a response to the vehicle electronics lifecycle conundrum
Thus, software management throughout its entire lifecycle becomes paramount for carmakers. This is where OTA software updates can help by providing the much-desired upgradability and by bridging the gap between the differences in software and hardware lifecycle.
OTA updates’ role to expand from functionality to security for Connected Cars
What is more, because of the increasing role of software, we expect that software-related defects will become increasingly important, both in number and magnitude. This is because the proliferation of Connected Car, connected devices, and the progression from ADAS to automated driving and self-driving cars, the attack surface of the vehicle will increase exponentially.
As a result, we expect more and more OEMs to adopt OTA software updates to fix software glitches and security vulnerabilities quickly and remotely. Identifying defects sooner and fixing them quicker and cheaper is a top priority for carmakers and regulators. And the adoption of OTA updates can eliminate software recalls and their associated warranty costs, thus preserving the OEM’s brand image and improving customer satisfaction.
As OTA become mainstream, security will be a top priority
Secure OTA software updates must provide update reliability and protection of the data transmitted to and from the vehicle. At the same time, they must meet the strictest security and safety standards. Which companies are the leaders in embedded security for Connected Cars? What are there product offerings?
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