The Connected Car As A Microcosm Of The New Threat Landscape

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot phrase right now, and every vendor is talking about the huge potential of continual connectivity and interaction with smart devices to optimize the asset and transform the customer experience. The potential is undeniably huge and developers are right to be excited, but it’s not all "hugs and puppies."

As S&R professionals, we have to balance the excitement of innovation with pragmatism and caution, and the IoT is a turmoil of innovation right now. With so much change, it can be difficult to focus in on the key issues, so let's choose an area where there has been a lot of discussion and hype for years (or even decades) but not much in the way of actual consumer adoption; let's use the "connected car" as an example to crystalize a few of the risk scenarios.

 

Picture courtesy of Dave Gray on Flikr

Today’s cars operate on computers, and mechanical functionality breaks down when the computer is not there to manage it. It’s not quite an aerodynamically unstable plane, such as the B-2, or indeed most modern fighter jets, which are kept in the sky by instantaneous computer feedback and corrections, but it’s not dissimilar. As we move toward the connected car, think through these scenarios:

  • Drivers are incentivized to “jailbreak” the car.  It's already possible to tweak your car's operating parameters to achieve greater acceleration or fuel efficiency, and the opportunities will only increase; imagine a driver wanted a different HUD setup, or increased steering sensitivity, for example. Drivers will be tempted to tamper with existing controls to achieve the drive they desire, and these changes may put the car into an unsafe mode. It’s possible to push liability onto the driver at that point for any problems, but when technology issues become safety critical, it’s not easy to distance your brand from any catastrophe.
  • Technology failures are commonplace now; with IoT the risk is escalated. We’ve seen that software upgrades and new applications are rarely deployed to common use technology, such as desktops, without teething problems. When your endpoint is traveling at 70 mph on a crowded highway, that’s not the time to find out that the software upgrade has a flaw, or that it corrupted an essential feature. What’s that you say? Just reboot it to fix that "failed brake" problem….?
  • Contextual data fundamentally undermines privacy. As the connected car travels around, connecting with local traffic information services, road toll systems, GPS systems, other cars, and parking services, so the contextual information builds up.  Drive through a built-up zone too fast? Car parked at the golf course on a sick day? Just ran that last red light? Accelerate away from the stop sign too fast? The systems will know and the data will be available to someone, perhaps the app developer, perhaps your insurer, perhaps the authorities.
  • Hacking becomes about physical, not data, theft. Recently, a UK university showed that it had developed a system that could unlock a range of prestigious cars wirelessly and without the assigned keys. A gag order stopped publication of the exploit, but the threat is real. Weak or vulnerable authentication protocols mean that IoT risks transfer into the physical world and real assets become susceptible to cyberthreats. Patching the control systems may help, but that depends on the car’s key technology. The ability of exploits to propagate almost instantaneously means that many thousands of vehicles could be vulnerable for some time before solutions are deployed. "Patch Tuesday" for connected cars is a real, not theoretical, nightmare, but can physical assets wait that long for protection? 

The topic of IoT and security is a vast and complex tale, and one that will affect your life sooner rather than later; that’s why Forrester is researching this topic with some vigor.  I will be speaking more on security and the IoT at Forrester's Forum For Technology Management Leaders in London on June 12-13. Hope to see you there!

Comments

Technology and invention in Automotive Industry

Now many technological research are going on in automobile industry to make the car comfortable and user friendly. So we need to do proper and regular servicing of our car so we will enjoy all the benefit lifetime. So its our responsibility to select the best service point for our car.

Computer Car

There is development in car making process which refers to the car operated by computer. Neither the operator nor the computer is inside the car but still the car is controlled by a remote. This is just like B-2, which is a fighter jet is controlled by another person sitting in another place. It is a modern technique which is very helpful for car users as it is itself a driver less car. Accidents can be avoided by this technique which will be a big issue for both the car company & the car users.
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Technology in Automobile Industry

Many new innovations are taking place in all sectors so we are getting used to it. But as these innovations are giving new way of success and reducing our time for other works as well.So the connected car theory also help us to reduce the work. Here we can say our used different cars like BMW or any other car,then we need to take proper care so we can use all the features as long we can.
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Thank you Andrew for the

Thank you Andrew for the article. I do agree with your idea's. The idea of microcosm is going to be rock. We are also from the industry of car camera seller and now waiting for the day when the product availabe in the market and we will include this product at our http://www.novusauto.com/ website.

Technological advance is

Technological advance is unlimited as you can see one after another technology is produced in automobile sector. At first electric cars then hybrids then driver less and now connected car. You can see how the shape of automobile industry is refined and
formed. The technology used in connected car is innovative and i am sure it will gain positive reviews. Very nice and informative blog. Do post more. Enjoyed reading new information.
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Developments

There are many developments in automobile sector regarding technology & features. The developments are made according to the customer needs & their preference. Now some cars are made with many latest features which are helpful to car users. The cars are fuel efficient which are giving high performance.
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Technichal Advancement

Day by day we are getting used to new technology and this are reducing the time to work also. The best deal is to here we got connected cars in place to get the best out of time. So that's the better deal here how to take care of our car in long run. The other solution is to go for best mechanics advice and get your car more workable from others.
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