Here Technologies joins the Uptane Alliance for highly-secure software updates


One of the leading global providers of location data and platform services Here Technologies has joined the Uptane Alliance, further strengthening its commitment to ensuring the highest standards of automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) security.

The Uptane Alliance is a non-profit consortium of automotive companies, security researchers from academia, and government agencies working to standardize the Uptane open-source software for the security of over-the-air (OTA) software updates for vehicles and other edge devices and infrastructure, such as those used in vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications systems. Uptane is the first open software update security system for the automotive industry capable of resisting even attacks by nation-state level actors. It is designed in such a manner that the security of software updates does not degrade all at once, but follows a hierarchy in which different levels of access to vehicles or the automaker’s infrastructure must be gained. By building these levels into the security system, even if an attacker compromises servers, bribes operators, or gains access to vehicular networks, they are prevented from causing many types of harm to the vehicle.

Here already provides its Uptane-based OTA software management technology, OTA Connect, to OEMs to enable the highly-secure remote exchange of software and data between cloud and cars. Here OTA Connect is part of the company’s open location platform and is designed to also support other organizations, such as those managing industrial machinery or smart home IoT, to thwart malicious attacks. Here introduced OTA Connect in 2018 following its acquisition of advanced telematic systems (ATS), a Berlin-based software company specializing in connected car software. Here OTA Connect is used by OEMs to update vehicles in the field and to maintain on-demand mobility cars. Uptane is integrated in all deployments of OTA Connect, whether on-premise or software-as-a-service (SaaS) based.

“The automotive industry has realized that OTA updates are necessary for safety, security, and to reduce costs,” said Justin Cappos, Uptane Alliance board member and professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. “Unfortunately, if not appropriately secured, software update systems are an attack vector that attackers can exploit. The Uptane Alliance brings together academic expertise about securing update systems and automotive industry domain knowledge to create a standard that will keep cars and other connected edge devices safe. Engineers from Here Technologies’ OTA team have been working with the Uptane Alliance for a number of years, and we’re happy to welcome them as an official member.”

Jon Oster, lead architect at Here, commented, “The systems enabling software and data updates for cars, IoT and robotics need to be much more secure than they are today. In the auto industry, for example, national lawmakers and global organizations like the UN are obliging carmakers to maintain the highest levels of security and ensure that their vehicles are always running the best code. And it’s not just software: to move safely and efficiently, increasingly automated cars need frequently updated firmware, configuration files and map data. Uptane-based security approaches are a key part of the required data infrastructure and we look forward to continuing to support and further the goals of the Alliance.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.