November 28, 2019

Is your connected vehicle safe and secure?

connected vehicle


Connected vehicles are becoming common place these days, you can’t buy or lease a new car without some form of connectivity, and the number of connected features and services now offered is astonishing. Manufacturers are enabling services such as vehicle hotspots for passenger internet access, entertainment, managing curfews for young drivers, driver assist and autonomous vehicles, traffic monitoring, keyless access control using your Smartphone, over-the-air updates, vehicle to vehicle communications, automated parking,… and the list goes on. Most of these are targeted at the consumer, but there are some additional features which benefits the automotive manufacturers, including; vehicle diagnostics information, wear levels on components. These help drive innovation on new vehicles – a big business opportunity.



All these technology advancements come with a range of security challenges, and security for connected vehicles is of paramount concern. The attack surfaces are growing and there is a huge potential risk to automotive security from cyber criminals. And of course what’s on everybody’s mind is safety. Vehicle manufacturers have an uphill battle to ensure their vehicles are safe and secure, and to meet compliance/regulation. They cannot rely on component suppliers to solve all their security concerns, and there is not one silver bullet. The way in which we want to pay for vehicles these days also makes security challenging, whether you buy, lease, pay per use etc. The list below highlights some of these areas in which vehicle manufacturers have to address to meet the ever-increasing demand for connected vehicles:


  • Secure supply chain – Component suppliers, distribution etc.
  • Vehicle identity and trust – Can I trust the vehicle and its subsystems?
  • Sensitive and personal data privacy – Lots of data gathered, some of it is very sensitive
  • Secure Software updates – Many systems to update, which requires software integrity and trust
  • Ownership transfer – From one to many owners, vehicles don’t normally stay with one owner
  • Compliance and Regulation – GDPR, CCA, Automotive regulations
  • Secure Vehicle Access Control – Using your Smartphone as a smart key
  • Security Automation and lifecycle management at scale – Thousands and millions of vehicles!
  • Vehicle integration to Enterprise & Cloud – Wide choice and lots of options

This list is by no means the complete story for vehicle security, simply because there are so many moving parts (excuse the pun!). But it does highlight some key areas for thought, and it’s not an easy task to solve these. Especially when you consider the broad ecosystem of component suppliers, cloud service providers, platform vendors etc.


Device Authority can certainly help address a range of these Automotive IoT security challenges by utilizing KeyScaler, a proven IoT Identity and Access Management platform, enabling automotive manufacturers to connect vehicles to cloud services and applications securely, and manage security operations at scale.

• Vehicle ownership transfer – Secure and scalable security solution to meet the needs of ownership transfer for manufacturers, leasing companies, car rental companies.

• Vehicle digital identity and trust – Solution leveraging PKI certificate management for connected devices.

• Data privacy and compliance – Solution uses policy-driven crypto key provisioning and management.

• Secure over-the-air updates and code signing

• Vehicle access control – Secure and scalable security solution to meet the needs for Vehicle access control


You can read more about connected vehicle security in our new solution brief:

Robert Dobson