5 Tips For Cybersecurity and Connected Vehicle Hacking

The technological revolution of the 21st century has impacted the automotive industry, to a point where it’s expected to change the fundamental purpose of a vehicle. New connected cars can now do almost anything our smartphones can. They not only take us from point A to point B but communicate with all of our IoT devices and even schedule their own repairs.

However, these next-generation vehicles come with a security threat: connected car hacking.

It’s expected that the number of connected vehicles will reach 125 million by 2022. That’s a 270% growth. As the internet-enabled vehicles are now available on the market, cybersecurity is among automakers’ chief concerns.

As we know, there is no device or even government agency immune to hacking. And connected vehicles are in no way more secure. In fact, the newness of this technology makes them even more vulnerable.

In order to overcome cybersecurity challenges, automotive manufacturers are now partnering with OEM vendors and 3rd party software developers to address the issues. The security requirements of connected car platforms are rapidly evolving.

With these concerns in mind, we’ve listed some tips on cybersecurity and connected vehicle hacking that developers should consider if they want to become a part of this new, promising market.

Regulatory Compliance

Back in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was established by the US House to pass rules over automobile cybersecurity. This bill requires automakers to protect connected car data.

The European Parliament also adopts such rules, but they are mostly focused on the privacy of driver data. The constantly growing number of connected vehicles will result in far-reaching legislation created by governments all over the world.

Such regulations will affect the acceptance requirements that automotive manufacturers establish for 3rd party and OEM applications as well. All software developers that want to achieve acceptance for their products will have to keep an eye on legislation affecting connected car data security.

Bluetooth Hardening

Bluetooth connectivity has been here since way before the Internet of Things. And that’s exactly what makes it a prime target for cybercriminals. Hackers already know how to exploit its vulnerabilities best. As later versions are being implemented, security often takes a back seat to reduced power and speed.

The latest Bluetooth 5.0 and its increased range and speed, almost put it in comparison with WiFi. Connected vehicles might now include their own Wi-Fi hotspots, but Bluetooth still dominates in-vehicle connections. However, the main risk this poses is that hackers are enabled to use device-to-device connections to access deeper systems in a connected vehicle.

In order to develop Bluetooth applications for connected cars, the latest specifications are not enough to work with. Developers need to be completely aware of all the current Bluetooth vulnerabilities and be able to close them right away.

Data Privacy

Developers’ main responsibility is to protect personal data of their connected car app users. Customers are extremely sensitive to anything that threatens their personal information. That’s why, in order to succeed, the connected vehicle technology should win their confidence first.

If an automotive app requires entering any personal information, it must be well protected. All provided information should be encrypted while in transit and when stored.

Secure Retention Data

The concept of attack evidence capture involves gathering operational data and storing it for analysis in case of system failure. It’s unfamiliar to most developers and that’s why it still has limited applications.

This concept is like a black box for vehicles. There’s even a law in the US that requires all new vehicles sold to have an EDR or Event Data Recorder. A bit like the dash cams that are so popular in Russia. Stored data can be useful for investigating accidents or for insurance companies.

Collecting data in connected vehicle software aims to capture cyber-attack-related information. When such an event occurs, app vendors and automotive manufacturers should be able to recognize how it happened and close the vulnerability promptly. Having traceability for events that lead to attack is an absolute must for your automotive app.

Over The Air Updates

Software is the foundation of keeping systems and applications in connected cars secure. However, you can’t expect users to come to the shop or service every time their vehicle software needs an update.

That’s why Over-the-Air or OTA updates can now be used by connected vehicles. We are familiar with OTA technology, thanks to our mobile devices. Now we can wirelessly update our cars too. Automatic OTA updates are the key to keeping all applications and operating systems in a connected vehicle up to date.

A Revolution In Connected Cars

The revolution of connected vehicles in the automotive industry provided a new range of possibilities for developers. Yet the challenge remains to secure auto apps well enough against cyber-attacks.

We’ve listed 5 cyber security tips you could use to build a safer, connected vehicle. Entering this new market requires some expert skills in IoT, automotive and cybersecurity. You can’t have a reliable automotive app developed by any mobile app development company. So for best results, it looks like we’ll be turning to the experts.