With the constant increase of electronic and mechatronic of component checks and the development of increasingly connected vehicles, the need to develop products and services that ensure maximum digital security becomes paramount.
Block Harbor Cybersecurity already partners with leading automotive manufacturers, while Reinova is specialised in consulting services for technical research and development, testing, component validation, vehicle software and battery packs. Reinova’s customers require security in connected vehicles and this partnership with Block Harbour Cybersecurity will provide the expertise and support to achieve due protection from cyber-attacks on automotive systems.
Block Harbor Cybersecurity employs Reinova labs to test vehicles and implement continuous improvements with the aim of avoiding attacks from hackers and progressively optimising vehicle operation. At the operational level, the R&D team is committed to searching for up-to-date, secure and appropriate software solutions to counter the looming uncertainty, perceived throughout the world, caused by IT piracy. It will, therefore, be imperative for the entire automotive supply chain to constantly seek appropriate solutions to make vehicles and their components, especially those connected to the network, increasingly the victim of cyber-attacks by trained hackers, safer and more efficient.
Fight against cyber-hackers for automotive security: from 1 June 2022 the legal obligations kick in
2021 was a turning point for connected cars, especially regarding minimum cyber security requirements: the European Union actually approved UNR 155, which came into force on June 1st, 2022, marking a deadline for cyber security regulatory obligations and the automotive industry.
The networking of vehicles makes them part of a complex and integrated system, where connectivity also enables highly sophisticated continuous testing methods for verifying and validating the digital safety of vehicles. Cyber security is necessary for connected vehicles since the most important driving parameters, such as braking, acceleration, steering and all other car functions, including air conditioning and lights, can be changed remotely.
A very high level of attention to cybersecurity has spread even in the US, all the way to the White House, which has shown a concrete interest in cybersecurity by putting pressure on leading Silicon Valley companies – such as Google, Juniper Networks, Mandiant AT&T, Cloudflare, VMware, and Lumen – to improve collaboration between the private companies themselves and the US Government. The goal is to protect both state and private strategic infrastructures: the Biden administration, therefore, intends to enhance the cyber security of the government itself, as well as of companies and the whole private business, considering that a wide range of strategic assets could fall victim of cyber-attacks.
Moreover, cyber-criticality has further increased since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine and the consequence of the Russian Government’s tougher attitude towards the West. Private industry, according to the US government, needs to do more to eliminate and limit the damage of hacker attacks, which operate against geopolitical as well as corporate, individual, private, collective, and social targets. It was not until 6 December 2020 that the massive damage caused by the ‘SolarWinds’ computer espionage campaign developed by Russian government hackers, who exploited a flaw in the software of at least nine US government agencies and about 100 private companies, became publicly known, revealing the extremely high vulnerability of many IT systems. From then on, the US government decreed the highest alert against cyber-attacks.
The spread of connected, electric and self-driven vehicles will also depend on cyber security
Regardless of whether the vehicles of the future will be electric or autonomous, their connection to the network and their complete control by sophisticated software are already concrete, real and very important facts today, both for safety reasons, such as reporting accidents and malfunctions, and because they make it possible to anticipate technical anomalies and continuously improve the functioning of the vehicle throughout its entire life cycle.
Thanks to continuous software updates, braking can already be improved in today’s cars (including internal combustion vehicles) by modifying the intervention of the ABS, ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), stability control, road holding, lane keeping and automatic braking, and anti-collision systems that can avoid accidents without the driver’s timely intervention.
The IT sophistication and the development of increasingly advanced and complete software already present in all latest-generation cars today can have a very positive impact on road safety, including the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, by preventing possible involvement in accidents thanks to the automatic and immediate intervention of the so-called ‘City Safe’, ‘Front Assist’ and ‘City Emergency’ systems, which automatically bring the vehicle to a halt before it hits people, animals or things.
In environmental terms, thanks to continuous software refinements and the optimisation of control and injection units, internal combustion engines can be seen to boast reduced emissions and a marked improvement in their overall performance.
Tesla implements continuous OTA (Over the Air) updates, i.e. of the control firmware and software of its cars: the improvements on Teslas take place while the car is stationary, but the download is done via mobile networks, even while the car is in motion, without the need for a physical connection to the Internet, nor any stopovers in the workshop.
Governments’ current concern about the increasing frequency of cyber-attacks must be a starting point for general prevention from threats that could materialise on the control systems of any vehicle, immobilising it or, worse, preventing it from braking and disabling the steering, generating sabotage and tampering, which is already possible remotely. For these reasons, cyber-attacks should not only be considered a problem for IT experts and combating them should become a priority for any private company.
Reinova constantly works alongside its partners, providing them with research, development, testing and validation services for automotive components and software and complex integrated systems, including battery packs. Reinova’s processes start, first, with an in-depth analysis of the vehicle end-user’s needs. Reinova’s consultancy also leads to the production of the component or software. Reinova develops integrated solutions, thanks to its experience, commitment, and tailor-made services, with the aim of simplifying and speeding up the start-up of industrialisation and production processes – including control software and firmware – while paying particular attention to IT security.