Biggest Security Concerns For Driverless Cars

Driverless cars are coming to a road near you, whether you believe it or not. Collision avoidance and navigation are no longer the biggest issues, either. When discussing safety issues, the initial focus was potential technical limitations and accidents caused by poor decision making from the autonomous car. Nowadays, the biggest safety issue is car-hacking.

Cars are now becoming wifi hotspots. They are becoming more equipped with connected devices to improve driver-safety and make the vehicles more autonomous. Soon, fully autonomous vehicles will be on our roads, and they will be vulnerable to data theft and hacking. Communications and entertainment systems are most vulnerable to attack. From here hackers could access the electronic control units (ECUs) and controller-area-network (CAN) bus, which control critical systems like braking and electric steering.

Protecting cars from a cybersecurity incident ‘is a matter of public safety,’ says Mary Barra, GM CEO. Researchers at the University of South Carolina, China’s Zheiliang University and the Chinese Security firm Qihoo 360 demonstrated that they could jam various sensors on the Tesla S, making objects disappear or invisible in the navigation system.

While manufacturers are moving toward the world of autonomous cars at tremendous speed, the need to secure these increasingly connected vehicles makes security paramount, and governments are noticing. As these amazing new transportation technologies evolve, so must governments update their laws to ensure that security is required and built into the system from the ground up. For instance, the U.K. government has already issued new, relevant cyber security guidelines for connected and driverless cars.

‘A major cyber-attack on connected vehicles would take a terrible toll on human life… Preventing application code from being accessed and tampered is one of the biggest priorities in protecting a connected vehicle. Manufacturers must deploy code hardening measures to prevent attackers from accessing their source code and removing vital data such as cryptographic keys which can be used to access other systems. Anti-tampering measures should be hidden in the code to alert them if the code has been changed, and prevent systems from starting if alterations are detected.’
-Mark Noctor, VP EMEA at Arxan Technologies

As the technology needed for autonomous vehicles becomes ready to hit the road far sooner than most of us could have imagined, anticipation and defense against malicious attacks has become the biggest issue to tackle.

The new UK guidelines specifically list the ability to protect code and ensure its integrity as key principles. CUBE will be the leader in security for autonomous vehicles, helping manufacturers reach the safety demands of governmental regulations using blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and quantum hash cryptography. These systems will be able to detect and react to unauthorised access attempts.

Governments need to write laws that ensure security, integrity, and peace of mind for consumers as technology, connectivity, and automation evolves and becomes more-and-more integrated into our society and daily lives.

Other realities we must face: The introduction of driverless cars will eliminate the need for countless jobs. How will the economy and our social structure adapt to these changes? While it is necessary to prevent violence from angry people who have become unemployed because of the new technology and other malicious attackers, it is important that lawmakers not only consider safety precautions, but also prepare their economies and communities for an evermore autonomous world.