Newswise — Modern day automobiles are extremely complex, containing up to 100 embedded electronic control units (ECUs), a wide range of infotainment/telematics networks to support these units, and an ever-increasing number of wired and wireless interfaces. With this increased connectivity comes a higher risk of cybercriminals exploiting automotive cybersecurity vulnerabilities. As automobile manufacturers move forward with the “connected and autonomous vehicle” concept intended to increase convenience, safety, and efficiency, the paths available for cyberattacks will increase. Cybersecurity for automobiles is of particular concern to federal, state, and local governments who all depend on commercially available passenger cars and trucks in their fleets. Vehicles used by government agencies will have at least the same vulnerabilities as passenger vehicles, and possibly more vulnerabilities due to additional technology for communications and fleet management.

The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is actively engaged in cybersecurity for automobiles because it’s a critical time in the design and deployment. These systems are being designed and deployed so quickly, and security cannot be left off or an afterthought. S&T’s Cyber Security Division within the Homeland Security Advance Research Project Agency, is addressing this challenge head on by working with the other government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center, automotive manufacturers, and industry and university research laboratories to identify and mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities and risks before system designs are complete and widely deployed. In other words the primary goal is to build security in rather than bolt it on later.

Join DHS S&T for a Facebook Tech Talk

On October 24 from 12 to 12:30 p.m. EDT, join DHS S&T on our Facebook page for a Facebook Tech Talk focused on this growing issue. During this tech talk you’ll learn about cybersecurity issues impacting vehicles, including vulnerabilities, technology gaps, and approaches to mitigate the problem, as well as gain insight on a key S&T Cyber Security Division program that is addressing these critical cybersecurity and safety concerns that could impacts our lives. We hope to see you there!