Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Developing Software-Based Security Apps for Vehicles

The concept of an Internet of Things (IoT) may seem somewhat obscure to the uninformed person, but the need to secure personal property while traveling in an automobile is apparent to most people. Meaningful context removes confusion.

That's why IoT market development would clearly benefit from better articulation of use case scenarios, to gain market momentum and increase the potential for further adoption by all stakeholders.

While traditional safety telematics services offer stolen vehicle tracking and diagnostics aimed at the physical protection of vehicles, drivers and their passengers are slowly becoming more aware of the benefits enabled by these mobile communication technologies.

Moreover, the potential threat of cyber-attacks and their impact on the physical integrity of persons -- especially with vehicle-to-vehicle communication and autonomous vehicles -- means that market demand for security solutions will surely grow over time.

The current situation is prompting car OEMs and Tier1 suppliers to source security technology, with more than 20 million connected cars forecast to ship with software-based security by 2020, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

"So far connected car security has been mainly based on hardware protection and separation with infotainment and vehicle-centric safety systems shielded from each other," said Dominique Bonte, VP and practice director at ABI Research.

However, ABI believes that the shift towards cost-effective software-based vehicle security -- based on virtualization, containerization and sandboxing -- is well under way.

As an example, Cisco is partnering with Continental and Visteon to bring enterprise IT connectivity based security technologies -- such as Private Networks (VPN), IPsec, encryption and authentication (PKI) -- to an automotive industry lacking in-house expertise.

Besides, security is not just about technology. Adopting end-to-end, balanced, and cost-effective risk management practices -- including security-based design procedures and frequency/severity analysis -- are also required to reach the desired outcome.

Furthermore, audit and monitoring policies, plus detection and assessment of vulnerabilities through self-induced cyber-attacks, will be required to prevent malicious intrusions.

Security is also closely linked to the secondary effect of compromised privacy, and that's a growing concern shared by governments which have already reacted to the public outcry with new legislation initiatives.

Truly, consumer fears are exacerbated by the sensitive nature of mobile geo-location data and the potential for misuse. If left unchecked, these lingering concerns could be a major barrier for connected car and autonomous vehicle adoption.