By Noam Kehati – January 23, 2019

Evaluations of autonomous car companies as well as private investment in these companies are booming as billions of dollars are being channeled into the commercialization of autonomous car technology.

A considerable amount of the self-driving industry’s attention is focused on achieving “connected” vehicles. The concept includes data exchange in a network among vehicles (V2V), between vehicles and infrastructure (V2I/I2V,) and for applications for the vehicle with a cloud system (V2C.) Even more extreme is the data sharing that interconnects all vehicle types and infrastructures; this connectivity includes all vehicles, including cars, trucks, trains, airplanes, and ships (V2X). Like any technological network, it will deliver both dynamic contributions as well as raise red flags to both the execution and the security of these automated systems. As cars get more intricate and interconnected, new methods to penetrate and damage them are emerging and are being explored and discussed in dark and deep web forums. Autonomous cars employ millions of code lines in addition to an assortment of unified systems and instruments, all of which are exposed to potentially being exploited and compromised.

Threats to autonomous vehicle systems include sensor jamming, spoofing and blinding, DoS/DDoS attacks, forged vehicle communications, leaked data, and physical attacks. These can both affect the car itself as well as the driver’s data. In even more severe cases, attacks of this nature can directly affect the safety of passengers and the vehicle’s surrounding. Therefore, the amplification of cybersecurity within the interactive automated vehicle systems is crucial to its success.

Vehicle companies need to categorize autonomous vehicles as business-critical data structures in order to efficiently battle prospective attacks. It is vital for both vehicle technology companies and manufacturers to recognize the existing and potential threat outlook; what attackers plan to produce or are already producing that will allow them to attack autonomous vehicles.

It is still uncertain how valuable the security methods that are being engineered into autonomous vehicle systems will be when they become the transportation standard. The industry must yet prove to be capable of efficiently countering significant cybersecurity threats.