secunet protects cars from hackers

[Essen, 25 May 2010] secunet Security Networks AG develops security solutions for the automotive market that protect vehicles against unauthorized access to sensitive systems. Hacking attacks on cars, as they have already been carried out successfully by a research team in the USA, thus are made impossible. The experts had hacked a vehicle via its online access and hence were able to gain complete control.

The manipulations in the test ranged from displaying any chosen text in the vehicle cockpit to arbitrary brake deactivation – the driver was not able to interfere. Through open vehicle interfaces, hacking tools can be applied with which complete control over the vehicle can be obtained. Such attacks on the electronics of a modern vehicle are possible through the standard diagnosis interface as well as via correspondingly dissected iPods.

Vehicles are more and more equipped with infotainment systems. Therefore, the need for suitable security mechanisms will grow even further. In the future, board systems will increasingly developed towards open platforms as it is already known from the field of smartphones. Such systems are clearly even more vulnerable and must correspondingly be better protected.

"We already realized some time ago that the permanently increasing connectivity in cars would lead to such problems. We have been developing solutions with renowned suppliers of the automobile industry that prevent, respectively close these security gaps for years,” explains Dr Marc Lindlbauer, Division Manager Embedded Security at secunet. “Thus, we enable a controlled opening of the vehicles, for example for Internet applications.”

For this, interfaces of different reliability are being separated from each other and processes which cannot be manipulated are being implemented to forward only permissible data. If an impermissible communication is being detected, the source of the harmful data will be eliminated immediately.

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