Protecting our connected cars from 'cyber-insecurity'

Cars today are connected objects, and as such threatened by cyberattacks. Thales is working with auto makers and parts suppliers to counter increasing risks of data theft and even interference with a car's functions.

Just as no one would confuse yesterday’s telephones with today’s smartphones, it’s important to recognize that the cars we drive today - and the vehicles that may drive us tomorrow - are packed with intelligence and connected to external networks.
That also makes them prime targets for hackers.
“Our cars today are already connected objects” says Laurent Sudarskis, Thales Security Consulting Manager, “So we are working with auto makers and parts suppliers to counter increasing risks of data theft and even interference with a car’s functions”.
In fact, it’s the whole automobile ‘ecosystem’ that has changed, from a closed one to one that is open for multiple types of external communication.
“It’s not only the multimedia entertainment center in a car or 4G or Bluetooth that we use every day. We need to protect many other parts and processes processes with a global end-to-end security approach.”

Laurent Sudarskis, Thales Security Consulting Manager
He cites the telematics box which transmits via GSM  to manufacturers and provides for emergency calls that will soon be required, on-board diagnostics systems to monitor vehicle subsystems and maintenance, as well as data transmission for fleet management.
“All of this calls for a holistic system approach to protection against cyber-attack” says Sudarskis, “It can’t be done as in the past on a part by part basis because that allows risks to develop”.
So Thales works directly with automakers on the entire security chain for onboard equipment. This includes evaluation of risks of cyber-insecurity for new functionalities, defining protective measures, as well as the evaluation of security levels in current equipment.

The challenge of cyber security for always-on connectivity

The key requirement for both automakers and their suppliers is to devote more skills to the challenges of cyber security.  And there’s no time to waste: this year new European regulations regarding the protection of personal data in cars come into effect, enlarging the responsibility of auto makers for data protection.
Thales is ready to continue to do its part to make sure that our connected cars - today and tomorrow - are safe for driving, for riding, and for communicating.
More articles about this subject:
Thales will be present at VivaTechnology Paris, Porte de Versailles, 24-26th June 2018. Attend our conferences on 24th May at 11.15 am on Cars & cybersecurity and meet our experts at the Thales Lab. Learn more