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Cyber Security Concerns


The Connected Car is one of the primary use cases for the Internet of Things (IoT). Yet it is one of the least well understood in terms of cybersecurity. Recent media coverage has exposed critical vulnerabilities to the software that improves performance of the vehicle and the experience of the driver. Similarly, personal data may be collected from cars — for legitimate purposes — that could compromise the privacy of drivers. Veracode commissioned this study to explore how manufacturers are addressing these issues and to understand whether drivers are concerned about them.

The prospect of allowing performance and entertainment functionality to be downloaded and upgraded directly to a car via the Internet is both exciting and terrifying. The ability for drivers to download software to navigate, park, communicate, conserve fuel, self-park, or other driver enhancements will revolutionize the automotive sector. Yet exposing a car to the Internet makes it vulnerable to cyberattack or malfunction due to glitches caused by poorly written software — either of which could render the car unstable or dangerous. Examples exist today in the form of widely published research, such as the demonstration in 2015 in which a Jeep Cherokee was totally taken over by a third party while driving at more than 110 km/h on a US freeway. The implications of a connected car are vast, cutting across the interests of consumers, manufacturers, government safety regulators, and law enforcement. For vehicle manufacturers, the issues go beyond automotive design and safety to determining what impact becoming a software and application provider will have for their overall business. While manufacturers have been dabbling in embedded software systems design for some time, building an application development team able to compete with the likes of Apple or Google is a significant challenge. Doing it under the microscope of government regulated safety standards and liability concerns is another.

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