In the latest years, big data seems to have taken the business world by storm. It provides an ever-growing array of new sources of revenue and marketing opportunities. However, cyber-crime is also on the rise and the potential fallout from a hack is significantly larger for a company that relies on big data, so security concerns are more important now than ever before.
One of the most current security issues in this day and age revolves around connected cars. With more and more autonomous cars being manufactured and sold on a daily basis, it is clear that security concerns are taking a new direction nowadays. The self-driving car timeline means that these cars are currently not road-ready.
However, data about their design, features, and test results would be extremely valuable to industrial competitors. In the future as these vehicles become available, there are more potential applications that could make auto companies big targets.
One of the first marks that artificial intelligence has left in the auto industry has been with the 1971 Chrysler Imperial, which was one of the first cars of its generation to include an electronic sensor system that was able to lock brakes. According to Gartner, the production of connected cars will surpass 60 million in the next four to five years.
While these technological advancements make it easier for the regular driver to navigate and will also ease many of the processes used in businesses such as rental companies, these will also lead to an increase in cybercrime and leave the average user at risk for potential security threats.
Big auto companies are taking this matter seriously, by conducting their own extensive research and building upon their car security measures. Volkswagen, for instance, announced back in September their plans to create a cybersecurity company run by Yuval Diskin, the former chief of Israel’s security agency.
According to James Hines, research director at Gartner, the more cars become connected, the more this increases the complexity and diversity of technologies involved in their functioning, such as cameras and radar systems. In order for vehicles to have autonomous control, this means their responses will need to be more sophisticated. They will rely heavily on image detection so that they can identify and classify objects in their vicinity to properly avoid collisions and adapt their cruise control.
When it comes to delivering this kind of digital data and service, automated cars make use of bidirectional wireless communication, which leaves plenty of room for cyberattacks.
Small-time hackers might try to learn when people are away from their houses by tracking their cars’ location. Others might harvest tracking data to find potentially compromising data or try to sell them to marketing firms. The criminal uses of stolen data are just as varied and lucrative as the legitimate ones.
For that reason, companies of all sizes need to do more than just buy security. They also need to create a plan of action for what to do if a hack does occur, treat it just like a natural disaster: an unstoppable force that can do damage and for which you must prepare in advance to minimize the cost. Just as you make plans for what to do in case a hurricane strikes, make a plan for hacking.
It seems like this matter of car data security is not only on companies’ minds, but also on consumer ones. In a KPMG survey released on July last year and performed on 449 car-owners, it was revealed that 70% are worried about the possibility of their car being hacked within the next five years, with personal safety being their chief concern (with stolen personal data and financial information falling on lower positions).
In light of all of this, the U.S. Department of Transportation has also issued a set of guidelines for automated and self-driving cars, which includes a number of security recommendations.
Therefore, in order to ensure the safety of drivers, engineers will need to resort to a multi-layered security strategy that prevents malicious cyber breaches and make sure that any data collection is done with the utmost transparency.
A mix of security and encryption can help because hackers are looking for easy targets. Security acts as a deterrent that indicates to any hacker that it will be too much work to break into that system. If they do, the encryption makes the data they find that much harder to use.