In the automotive aftermarket, cybersecurity is developed as needed or on an ad-hoc basis. Essentially, a threat is brought to the attention of the developers and they create a patch or an update. Or maybe there is a bug that is detected by someone in the field who is not a hacker, it’s reported and a fix is created.
Either way you can see that this is not a sustainable solution. You simply cannot take the complex systems of the modern automobile and continue to automate and improve them without having some type of cybersecurity infrastructure in place before the products are built.
You would not put your money in a bank that waits for the bank to be robbed to figure out how they are going to protect it from the next robbery. That would be unreasonable. But that is what we are asking our customers to do today.
The development of a cybersecurity technology suite designed and built into automotive systems is a welcome development. And, quite frankly, it is inevitable. This is essentially the next step. Honeywell and LG are working on developing software and intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS) that will be baked into their new products.
Lee Woo-Jong of LG said that there are more than two dozen clearly defined attack surfaces on the modern automobile. An attack surface is simply a defined area of the computer network that can be vulnerable to attack. Every time you add a new computer, you run the risk of adding a new attack surface that can be exploited.
So what are these technologies? Well IDPS is an active technology that aggressively looks for anomalies or strange patterns in a car’s internal computer network. Cars have multiple computers and these computers are more and more integrated into one another. Whereas a firewall protects the perimeter of a network and keeps bad things from coming in, an IDPS scans and monitors the inside of the network to find bad things that are originating from the inside. Keep in mind that many attacks originate from inside a computer network.