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Five cyber security threats in the auto industry

by LLT Contributor
19th Apr 24 9:41 am

With the automotive industry witnessing an increase in connected technologies, practices of cybersecurity take centre stage. Whether your car boosts the latest Toyota parts or integrated network systems and sensors, such modern features are designed to improve your driving experience.

Such inventions make the automotive industry unique and competitive. However, with the introduction of such advancements, manufacturers also open the doors to various cyber threats.

Understanding these threats is crucial for industry stakeholders to develop effective counter-measures and offer the best to their customers.

Today, we explore the five major types of cybersecurity threats that every manufacturer in the auto industry faces. Besides, we will look at lucrative ways to combat these threats.

From relying on experienced managed IT service providers to conducting a two-step authentication process, there are different ways to make your business bulletproof.

Let’s explore these cybersecurity threats first!

  1. Attacks on your supply chains 

The auto industry is famous for involving many third parties considering the collaborative process involved here. However, this also poses a threat as this indicates a potential weak link in your security system.

For instance, if any one of your supplier’s components or software is compromised, the integrity of the entire vehicle system may be at risk.

To avoid such mistakes, your business must conduct thorough security audits of its suppliers and their garage data systems. In addition, you must impose strict cybersecurity guidelines through agreements in contracts with all your manufacturers and suppliers.

This, in turn, minimises the impact of a compromised supplier while helping you implement a zero-trust security architecture and integrating continuous monitoring technologies across all your systems. This way, confidence is never lost with your suppliers and manufacturers, regardless of the nature of their connection with the organisation.

  1. Ransomware attacks

In the auto industry, malicious software such as ransomware is far too common as these notoriously encrypt a victim’s data and then demand a ransom in exchange for money to unlock the data.

As a result, the automobile sector’s essential operational technology systems are locked out, leading to a huge loss of critical data, money and effort. This is all the more threatening as most of these systems are utilised for manufacturing processes and supply chains.

To mitigate ransomware attacks in the auto industry, companies should implement robust data backup and recovery plans to ensure important data can be restored without paying a ransom.

It’s also crucial to maintain up-to-date antivirus software and to train employees on recognising phishing attempts and other common vectors for ransomware deployment.

  1. Hacking your business’s firmware 

Since this includes manipulating software that controls essential car functions, such as the infotainment systems and engine operations, firmware hacking presents a serious risk to the auto industry.

Hackers can harvest sensitive car data, bypass safety features, and take over a vehicle without authorisation by taking advantage of firmware weaknesses. The use of secure boot procedures by automakers is crucial to avoid these dangers since it verifies the digital signatures of firmware at every startup and loads only validated and trusted software.

Frequent firmware upgrades and patches are essential to quickly fix any security flaws that are found. Moreover, firmware data encryption provides an extra degree of protection by shielding it from unwanted access.

In order to provide early alerts of any security breaches, a strong endpoint detection and response system can also be extremely important. It does this by continually monitoring for irregularities in the firmware’s performance. When combined, these tactics provide a strong barrier against the threat posed by firmware hacking in the car industry.

  1. Theft of data 

A multitude of data is gathered by modern cars: from driving habits and personal user information to biometric data in high-tech vehicles. Cars are easy targets for data theft due to their large amount of sensitive data, which can result in financial fraud and privacy violations. It is imperative to develop strong data protection procedures to defend against such attacks.

One of the most important tactics is to encrypt data to guard against illegal access both during transfer and storage. Sensitive data is protected from both internal and external threats by strict authentication procedures and strong access control mechanisms that guarantee only authorised persons may access it.

Furthermore, establishing thorough data privacy regulations that adhere to international standards strengthens security. Frequent security audits are also necessary to find flaws and fix them quickly, protecting the systems against ever-changing cyberattacks. In the automobile industry, these preventative measures are essential for maintaining the security and integrity of user data.

  1. Denial of services attacks 

Denial of Service (DoS) attacks present a significant threat to the automotive industry by targeting the connectivity systems of vehicles and the related cloud services they depend on.

These attacks operate by flooding the network with excessive traffic, which can cripple the functionality of critical services like real-time navigation and software updates, rendering them inoperative and potentially putting vehicle safety at risk.

In such cases, automakers need to provide redundancy to critical connection components and services to reduce the risks associated with denial-of-service assaults.

By implementing this method, service continuity is maintained by having a backup ready to withstand unforeseen traffic surges. Ongoing traffic analysis is equally essential as this enables prompt detection and reaction to anomalous traffic patterns.

Moreover, creating a strong incident response strategy is essential to promptly responding to and minimising assaults, cutting down on possible downtime, and expediting the return of regular services.

To sum it up

Technological improvements in the car sector have led to a diversification and intensification of cyber threats. The secret to successfully countering these attacks is to tackle cybersecurity with a proactive, all-encompassing strategy.

This entails keeping up with new threats, making investments in cutting-edge security tools and encouraging a security-aware culture across the whole company.

By doing this, the automotive sector can safeguard both its clients and itself against the possible risks presented by cyberattacks, guaranteeing the safety and security of vehicle technology going forward.

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