Modern vehicles are equipped with driver assistance technologies like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and safety communications. Looking ahead, these technologies could potentially prevent accidents, especially those caused by human drivers’ choices
In today’s interconnected world, cybersecurity impacts various aspects of our lives, including our professional endeavours, personal activities, and even our vehicles. As we rely more on sophisticated software in our daily routines, the associated information systems become increasingly crucial. This heightened reliance, however, exposes these systems to more vulnerabilities and potential attacks. The concept of cybersecurity emerged as a necessary measure to safeguard these systems and the information they contain. In the context of vehicles, cybersecurity plays a crucial role in protecting safety-related systems and components from harmful attacks, unauthorised access, damage, or any interference that could compromise safety functions.
Modern vehicles are equipped with driver assistance technologies like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and safety communications. Looking ahead, these technologies could potentially prevent accidents, especially those caused by human drivers’ choices. Recognising the safety benefits of these innovations, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is actively exploring ways to ensure their safe and effective deployment. This includes addressing challenges such as cybersecurity.
To establish a robust cybersecurity environment, NHTSA adopts a comprehensive research approach aligned with the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework. The goal is to encourage the automotive industry in the United States to adopt practices that enhance the cybersecurity posture of their vehicles. NHTSA aims to collaborate with the automotive sector proactively, addressing cybersecurity challenges and continually seeking ways to mitigate associated safety risks.
Cybersecurity Protection Methods
NHTSA advocates a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity, focusing on a vehicle’s potential entry points, both wireless and wired, which could be vulnerable to cyberattacks. This strategy aims to reduce the likelihood of a successful vehicle cyber-attack and minimise the potential consequences of an intrusion. The development of layered cybersecurity protections involves:
- A risk-based, prioritised identification and protection process for safety-critical vehicle control systems.
- Timely detection and swift response to potential vehicle cybersecurity incidents on the roads.
- Architectures, methods, and measures that incorporate cyber resilience and enable rapid recovery from incidents.
- Effective intelligence and information sharing across the industry to quickly adopt industry-wide lessons learned.
NHTSA has actively supported the formation of Auto-ISAC, an industry initiative fostering cybersecurity awareness and collaboration within the automotive sector.