The age of ‘car hacking’

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The age of ‘car hacking’

Wireless communication connects automobiles and infrastructure via the Internet to share information, and the connected car market is expected to grow to 250,000 units within the next few years.

According to a survey on 2,000 American adults about the Internet of Things, including connected cars, by NXP, 69 percent of the respondents said that the new technology would make life more convenient. However, 81 percent had concerns about privacy infringement because of the technological advancement. The most notable concerns about connected cars are location information, dialogues during rides, driving speed, traffic violations and risk of exposing the identity of passengers.

In the past, individual cars were hacked through wired connection, but now, there is a risk of multiple cars of a same model being hacked simultaneously through wireless access. If there is no perfect security measure, the more advanced a connected car becomes, the more vulnerable it is against remote attacks.

Generally, there are cases where security measures at the software level would be sufficient for connected cars. But a recent hacking case shows that software security is not enough. Secure elements in both software and hardware are necessary. In a current model, about 50 electronic control units are used, and one-third requires hardware security.

In the end, security should be incorporated into the design process. Security cannot be added after a car is built. Preparing for the age of connected cars, automobile manufacturers need to work with car security solution specialists to provide complete security protection. Moreover, government authorities should apply more strict regulations on security and promote a policy to drastically change security awareness among the industry and the public.

Security and privacy infringement cannot be compromised for any cause, such as efficiency or convenience. It is especially crucial in the connected car market, which is directly related to safety and life. Plans for security and privacy violation may be the minimum measure to keep the convenience of civilization from turning into a weapon against humanity.

by Shin Bak-jae, Chairman and CEO of NPX Semiconductors

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