Secure-CAV whitepaper: Addressing the challenges of securing connected and autonomous vehicles

Over the summer, Siemens commissioned Copper Horse to write a whitepaper that captured the key themes of the Secure-CAV project and gave readers a headstart in navigating the status of automotive cyber security as well as a glimpse at its future.

Executive Summary 

Vehicles are becoming the most sophisticated connected objects in the ‘Internet of Things’ as designers consider a fully autonomous future. But integrating such features causes the attack surface of the vehicle to grow – for example, as systems make use of remote connectivity at multiple points. 

At the same time, the automotive industry has a challenge in that legacy technologies are both insecure and take a long time to age out. Unlike many other connected products, vehicles can have a very long lifespan, which demands an innovative approach when it comes to cyber security concerns. 

Beginning in late 2019, the Innovate UK-sponsored Secure-CAV consortium set out to develop and prove hardware-based security technology that will allow the automotive industry to leap ahead of the threats that it faces currently and – in the near-term – put the industry into a much more tenable cyber security posture than it currently holds. 

Secure-CAV partner, Siemens, has developed Intellectual Property (IP) as well as anomaly detection software, which is able to monitor protocols and transactions at the lowest level in hardware. This is backed by unsupervised machine learning algorithms and statistical analysis, with expert input from consortium member University of Southampton.  

The solution has been integrated into Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology and linked to two vehicle demonstrators developed by teams at Coventry University and cyber security specialists Copper Horse – also part of the Secure-CAV line up.  

Building mitigations to a number of real-world and theoretical attacks into a demonstrator enabled the consortium to prove the theory that security anomalies can be detected and responded to appropriately, forming the foundation and basis for future developments in this emergent security solution space. 

Security perspective 

Setting the scene, the Secure-CAV whitepaper – authored by Copper Horse CEO David Rogers – provides examples of representative vehicle hacking scenarios and dissects the methodologies that adversaries rely upon. 

Briefing document: the Secure-CAV whitepaper covers a wide range of topics from the history of car hacking to the use of on-chip monitoring to boost the response times of automotive cyber security.

Moving ahead, the discussion then turns to solutions and looks at what the industry can do to improve its cyber security posture, which includes adopting hardware-based techniques that have the potential to adapt as the threat landscape evolves. 

Discover all of the details 

Published this month, the 22-page whitepaper is now available as a free PDF download