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Staying Ahead of Hackers

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Tags: Company, Safety
Dr. Brian Murray, June 19, 2019
Dr. Brian Murray is director of global safety and security excellence at ZF.
“I’ve been hacked!” Few sentences strike more fear in the hearts than this one. As the emphasis on phenomena like identify theft and data breaches gets more and more attention, there has been an increasing emphasis on the security of products as well, from smartphones to baby monitors and now vehicles.

More connected features and automation are being added to vehicles, and while these can offer great benefits they can also create vulnerabilities. Taking proactive as well as reactive measures to help secure our vehicles and their systems must be a priority. After all, devices of great mass capable of hurtling along at more than 100 miles per hour are nothing to be trifled with.
Staying ahead of hackers can be like a game of cat and mouse, and nothing can be made 100 percent secure. We need to be diligent and pay attention to the basics. For instance, most security breaches are achieved by taking advantage of bugs – weaknesses in the software – so we work to eliminate these.
And just as you wouldn’t let a stranger in your house, an important part of cybersecurity countermeasures is aimed at only permitting trusted communication with and between our electronic systems. This is similar to requiring a secure log-in to computers.

Vehicles can be threatened in several ways, from targeting keyless entry systems to extracting private information from infotainment units.

Joint Efforts by the Automotive Industry

Joint Efforts by the Automotive Industry

Your prized ‘57 Chevy without significant electronics content is probably safe from hackers, but modern vehicles can be threatened in several ways, from targeting keyless entry systems to extracting private information from infotainment units.
At ZF, our program is designed to defend our systems so that unauthorized cyber access to a vehicle can have minimal impact on the functions that we are responsible for. Since many of our products affect safety, we begin with this focus.
What is the industry doing as a whole? ZF is a member of the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto-ISAC), an industry group created to share cybersecurity threats, vulnerabilities and countermeasures and coordinate reaction to events across the global automotive industry. The industry is also working together on a cybersecurity engineering standard, ISO 21434. We are working with the entire industry in these activities and helping play an active role as the ISO and SAE teams work toward a common global standard.
The bottom line: we want customers and the public to know they can place their trust in their vehicles and the systems made by ZF.

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What is the state of the art? How is testing carried out? What will the future bring? Everything there is to know about cars and other vehicles that operate on an automated or autonomous basis.