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The automobile industry has taken significant strides this decade. From strict emission norms across the globe to electric vehicles (EVs) making headlines, the biggest progress, arguably, was in autonomous driving. However, as vehicles become more connected and the industry shifts toward autonomous driving, the vulnerability to hacking increases for both the vehicle itself and the back-end systems connecting it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the United States defines cyber security as the protection of automotive electronic systems, communication networks, control algorithms, software, users, and underlying data from malicious attacks, damage, unauthorized access, or manipulation.
In the last couple of years, cyber attacks on automobiles have drastically increased. According to an Upstream Security Report, publicly reported automotive cyber-security incidents increased from fewer than 10 cases in 2014 to nearly 60 in 2018. Unlike mobile phones and computers, the automotive industry has only seen a technology boom over the last decade. Hence, development and deployment time for cyber-security solutions take longer.
Earlier this year, a report by Consumer Watchdog stated that safety-critical systems are being linked to the internet without adequate security and with no way to disconnect in the event of a fleet-wide hack. The head unit is connected to the internet through a cellular connection and to the vehicle's controller area network (CAN) buses. This technology, dating to the 1980s, links the vehicle's most critical systems, such as the engine and the brakes. The report prompted US senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal to raise concerns about cyber-security vulnerabilities with the NHTSA.
Most automotive cyber-security solutions are being developed by specialist startups, primarily based out of Israel. These startups have received large investments from venture capital groups, while many have been acquired by tier-1 suppliers to become their cybersecurity branch. The following are some of the key cyber-security solution developers.
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