Traffic Technology Today.com
Subscribe to Traffic Technology
Subscribe to Traffic Technology
   Sort by: relevance most recent
  

NEWS >>

Developers of automotive software want hackers to find its flaws

A consortium of three leading automotive research organizations has announced the development of a universal, free, and open-source framework to protect wireless software updates in vehicles. The development team has issued a challenge to security experts and ‘white hat’ hackers everywhere to try to find vulnerabilities in the system before it is adopted by the automotive industry.

The new system, called Uptane, evolves the widely used TUF (The Update Framework) – developed by New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering assistant professor of computer science and engineering, Justin Cappos – to secure software updates. Uptane is a collaboration between NYU Tandon, the University of Michigan Transport Research Institute (UMTRI), and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and is supported by contracts from the US Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate.

Modern cars contain dozens of computers or ECUs (electronic control units) that control everything from safety equipment, such as airbags, brakes, engine and transmission, to entertainment systems. The increasing complexity of modern cars accompanies an increasing likelihood of flaws in the software. To combat this, vehicle makers are equipping ECUs with a secure Software Over-The-Air (SOTA) update capability, allowing the software to be changed without visiting a service depot, resulting in fewer recalls and greater customer satisfaction. However, hackers can target these software update mechanisms to install malicious software, viruses, or even ransomware, the results of which could be extremely dangerous.

Uptane goes beyond TUF in order to address the unique problems posed by automotive software. For example, it allows auto makers to completely control critical software, but to share control when appropriate, such as when law enforcement agencies need to tune a vehicle for off-road conditions. It also helps auto makers to quickly deploy secure fixes for a vulnerability exploited in an attack or to remotely update a car's electronics. At a recent meeting at UMTRI’s Ann Arbor headquarters in Michigan, the development working group publicly released the Uptane design to auto makers representing more than three quarters of the vehicles on US roads, plus automotive suppliers and government agencies.

The Uptane group has been holding regular design workgroups to develop a universal framework that could enhance the security mechanisms, protecting cars as soon as next year. As is standard practice in open-source projects, the team called upon security experts everywhere to help them find flaws in the proposed framework, so that a secure final version can be adopted. The Uptane research is led by principal investigators Cappos at NYU Tandon, Sam Lauzon at UMTRI, and Cameron Mott at SwRI.

Cappos noted, “Although widespread attacks are still difficult and expensive, they lie within the capabilities of nation-state cyber warriors, and it is time to begin securing the infrastructure, particularly as automotive electronics increase.”

January 19, 2017

Email


RECEIVE THE
LATEST NEWS


Your email address:



Monthly Poll >>

Will the public ever accept road user charging?

MAGAZINE >>

Read latest issueNEW DIGITAL EDITION:

The Oct/Nov 2017 issue of Traffic Technology International is now online.

Click here to read digital version
Click here to subscribe

Read now >>

VISION ZERO >>

Read latest issueNEW DIGITAL EDITION:

The June 2017 issue of Vision Zero International is now online.

Click here to read digital version
Click here to subscribe

Read now >>

INTERTRAFFIC WORLD >>

Read latest issueNEW DIGITAL EDITION:

Intertraffic World 2018 showcase is now online.


Click here to read digital version
Click here to subscribe

Read now >>


TOLLTRANS >>

Read latest issueNEW DIGITAL EDITION:

Tolltrans 2017 is now online.



Click here to read digital version
Click here to subscribe

Read now >>