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The automotive industry? At risk of cyber crime

The implementation of the connectivity of vehicles is dictated by the needs of motorists to be “always connected” and manufacturers that can offer an increasing number of services, has led to the reverse of the medal, the growth of the problems of cyber security.

On the other hand, today, the automotive industry has the need to exchange a series of critical data, and the transmission of these information necessarily involves risk, as underlined by Gabriele Zanoni, consulting systems engineer at FireEye:

Possessing information is a responsibility. Organizations must protect the information, have visibility into where their confidential data on their networks, their knowledge of their destination, and implement a policy for their management. A strategy that balances the needs of legal and business organizations is vital to protect them adequately”.

of course, the majority of the companies of the automotive industry has made investments in cyber security to protect the information within their networks in an attempt to protect their systems so that, whether the data of the customers, both of them, are not compromised or altered by targeted attacks, or widespread for a mistake is human.

cyber security is intended to protect rigorously the whole of the IT infrastructure so as to ensure that the hardware, software, and data, are secure when they are transmitted, both when they are stored, avoiding damage, disclosure or modification.

“However, many changes that at first glance appear positive, offer possible new entry points for cyber criminals as to widen the perimeter of the attack surface, " he added, Zanoni – At the beginning of 2015, some researchers have shown, in fact, as the vulnerabilities in the control software of a vehicle may be exploited to introduce malicious code, and modify, for example, the operation of the steering”.

specialists FireEye has analyzed the activities of the aggressors “state-sponsored” in the attacks the automotive industry in europe and believe that the evolution of the technology in the vehicles, the more complex and always more connected to the internet, will probably make them more vulnerable to compromise.

“The IoT applications for the vehicles they are creating added value for the automotive industry – stress to the headquarters By closing the smart vehicle tracking systems and services for fleet maintenance, the IoT is transforming the business models of the automotive industry in all vehicles, redefining the uses and customs for the consumer. For commercial use, both for the final consumer, the applications of IoT will create entirely new opportunities for manufacturers of vehicles.”

The risk factors linked to the development of technology will inevitably lead to new potential risks, such as access control from the remote, locking and unlocking of the doors and the manipulation of the equipment of the vehicle, ranging from the lights to the Abs systems, sensors designed to detect pedestrians or other cars.

as an example, the systems keyless entry can now also be controlled from your smartphone, or the systems of the unlocking of the doors based on proximity to the vehicle, are for the drivers comfort but can be a source of possible attacks from the cyber criminals.

for some years now researchers have shown that vehicles can be hacked at a distance to manipulate, for example, the heating systems. If the violations were taking place in the moment in which the vehicles are in motion, the risks for drivers and pedestrians could become disastrous.
And would still be the worst of the effects of the manipulation of the sensors on autonomous vehicles (autopilot).

A framework is a little reassuring then, and according to the experts of FireEye, with the main players of the automotive industry involved in the implementation of autonomous vehicles, it is likely that there will always be a greater attention by part of the cyber criminal towards this sector.

“What could happen is that not only might we see an increase of cyber-espionage with the aim of stealing the research for profit or sabotaging the activities of research and development – concluded Zanoni – but now that attackers are state-sponsored are looking for new ways to create political unrest or economic, even attacks on small-scale vehicles “connected” might come in useful for these objectives.
The industry needs to integrate and improve their security measures against this type of attackers (which use techniques of attack that is particularly sophisticated), both during the phase of production and post-production, to protect users from this type of threats.” (m.r.)

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