Security vulnerabilities of connected vehicles

Automakers are in a race to make their vehicles more secure in an era of web-connected devices. While vehicles with internet access enable services like infotainment systems and maintenance monitoring, they also pose security risks on account of being connected to the web. As digitization drives connected vehicles forward, here are a variety of ways the automotive industry is looking to advance security.

Over-the-air software updates

One security challenge facing the automotive industry is figuring out a way to regularly apply software updates and patches to millions of connected vehicles around the globe. These updates are necessary to maintain the security of connected vehicles by checking for vulnerabilities and resolving any technical problems.

In addressing this challenge, some manufacturers have started using over-the-air update solutions, which download software updates to the vehicle from a cloud-based server. With the technology, manufacturers can focus only on what needs to be addressed, thereby reducing both the download time of the updates and the manufacturer’s distribution costs. Although, it should be noted that a remote code is required to implement over-the-air updates once they are sent to connected vehicles.


Manufacturers are required to test and verify connected services within a vehicle before they ever hit the road. If any of these individual components are breached, they can compromise the safety of the driver. Testing and verification help ensure the interoperability of software applications, and that on-board vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) safety devices meet performance requirements.

Cloud-based solutions

Another way manufacturers are looking to better secure connected vehicles is through security services operating in the cloud, such as malware defense and encryption. By centralizing cybersecurity in the cloud rather than in-vehicle, security threats can be recognized and thwarted prior to impacting a vehicle’s network. These services also make it easier to better secure fleets of connected vehicles.


Though still a budding technology, another potential security solution that manufacturers are beginning to express interest in is blockchain. A blockchain serves as a cryptographic, distributed ledger, which enables online web transactions. With respect to vehicle cybersecurity, however, blockchain could be used to reliably validate data transmitted among vehicles, gateways, processors and street-level sensors. Moreover, the distributed ledger could also be used to ensure a vehicle’s record history is accurate.

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