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Technology has become an essential part of daily life. From the way we get around to the things we buy, computers are at the forefront of change. This is especially true for vehicles.

Vehicle technology has evolved dramatically over recent decades. The latest iteration of vehicle remodelling in the automobile industry is heavily software-focused, from autonomous and connected vehicles to electric vehicles and car-sharing. Software powers the artificial intelligence that drives autonomous vehicles and provides the interface for connected vehicle communication. It also underpins the charging infrastructure of electric vehicles as well as the network that makes car-sharing and ride-hailing possible.

Software allows vehicles to be more intelligent, and it helps them to communicate with each other and with the outside world. This makes driving safer, improves traffic flow, and enables new mobility business models. And in a world where technology is constantly evolving, the role of software in transportation has never been more essential.

Never mind the progress recorded in recent years. One major point is that even though transport operations became limited at the height of the pandemic, that didn’t deter malicious actors. Indeed, automotive cyber attacks actually increased in 2020.

That’s why the auto industry needs to consider cybersecurity carefully going forward. Let’s discuss five things in particular that this sector’s organizations should keep in mind.

Consideration #1: Connectivity and Compounding Risks

The scale of rapid innovation is proportional to the rising spate of attacks across industries, particularly in the nascent world of connected automobiles. Modern vehicles are becoming more and more dependent on connectivity. For all its good, connectivity also expands the attack surface, leaving more room for malicious actors to wreck the vehicle system.

Malicious hackers can access an owner’s vehicle as they drive, and there are numerous points of vulnerability. More so, these actors can obtain the same levels of access to innovative technologies such as AI, ML, 5G, and IoT. These they can use to scale up the volume of their attacks as they extract sensitive data from vulnerable connected vehicles.

Consideration #2: Securing the Auto Ecosystem

In the evolving world of connected transportation, cybersecurity is not just about one vehicle; it is about the entire network of vehicles. Essentially, each compromised vehicle in a smart city transportation network potentially opens every other asset to risk. And it’s no secret that cybercriminals are looking to take advantage of any weakness in the cybersecurity of digital transportation systems.

Modern vehicles are complex systems with many moving parts. Vehicles are also networked and interconnected. As such, better cybersecurity will benefit all industries—and consumers in particular—because it helps keep consumers and businesses secure from potential economic and environmental disruptions.

Consideration #3: Organizational Priorities for Automotive Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving discipline that requires constant vigilance. Organizations must adapt to meet current and future challenges while adhering to strict regulations and strict internal policies. While cybersecurity governance may be implemented at the operational level, it is equally important to have an internal approach that addresses risk management at an organizational and societal level.

It’s not enough to just protect systems against attacks. You need to know what targets are being tracked, who has access to what data, and what steps are being taken to remediate any security risks. This cuts across all concerned organizations from cloud deployment companies to autonomous and electric vehicle manufacturers as well as vehicle transport services.

Consideration #4: Cross-Organizational Automotive Cybersecurity

Just as we can’t forget about the cars, we should also pay much attention to the road networks and transport systems that keep our societies running efficiently.

However, it is also essential that technology providers and automotive companies stay abreast of new threats and develop solutions that can be implemented on a timely basis to help protect the safety and security of their customers. As companies work towards protecting their digital assets, consistency across industry guidelines and best practices essential for promoting cybersecurity can be implemented to help provide a cohesive strategy across all stakeholders involved in providing automotive services.

The success of these technologies relies on the continuous flow of data from these systems, assets which can only be secured by promoting effective data sharing between industry participants. After all, a major takeaway from this article should be that automotive cybersecurity is an industry issue that must be addressed at the macro and the micro levels.

Consideration #5: Security by Design

The automotive industry relies on a number of essential security technologies to maintain the integrity of its digital infrastructure. These complex technologies need to be designed and implemented in a way that protects automotive entities against a wide range of potential attacks

Designing for automotive cybersecurity means thinking about the security of every stage of vehicle development: physical, software, hardware, and data elements within vehicles. The process starts with the decision-making regarding what capabilities should be integrated into the product.

In addition, the ongoing methodology for designing secure systems must include developing risk mitigation strategies to constantly evolve the product to match future needs and expectations.

Conclusion

In automobile manufacturing, software plays an increasingly important role. As computer technology continues to advance and become more robust and functionality-rich, computer software is being integrated into the designs of automobiles at every stage of development.

Over the next decade, the global automotive cybersecurity market is expected to record an annual growth rate of 21.7%. This is no small part due to the growing significance of cybersecurity in designing and building modern vehicles and vehicle systems.

Thus, the automotive organizations that take cybersecurity most seriously are in the best position to become the shapers of global transportation in the next decade and beyond. That said, automotive cybersecurity is a safety issue first and perhaps a competitive edge second.


Author’s Bio: Daniel Moayanda is a content writer, thought leader, and entrepreneur. He writes about cybersecurity, IoT, artificial intelligence, and related topics. He’s also a Guest Contributor to InfoSecurity Magazine, Huffington Post, DZone, SAP, etc.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.