The IoT Impact On Automotive Security And How To Solve The Challenge With Ravishankar Chamarajnagar, CPO At AppViewX

Welcome to our insightful blog featuring an in-depth conversation with Ravishankar (Ravi) Chamarajnagar, Chief Product Officer (CPO) of AppViewX, as we delve into the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT). Our discussion revolves around the impactful utilization of IoT within the Automotive sector. We’ll be discussing the sector’s burgeoning security risks and challenges as vehicles become more connected. We will also be exploring the role of machine identity management and automated certificate lifecycle management as means to effectively mitigate these pressing issues. Join us as we unravel the intricate interplay between IoT, automotive advancements, and cutting-edge solutions that ensure security and safety.

Question 1: Connected vehicles are becoming more prevalent, leveraging IoT technology. What are the major security challenges in today’s modern vehicles?

Ravi: In the context of security challenges within the interconnected IoT automotive landscape, I believe the risks can be broadly categorized into two distinct segments. The first entails a spectrum of cyberattacks, encompassing remote hacking, malware injection, and unauthorized access. The second dimension revolves around data privacy concerns, encompassing the sharing of personal data such as driving preferences, location, behavior, and subscription information.

When dissecting the complexities of the connected vehicle domain, a few pivotal areas emerge. First, secure onboarding assumes paramount importance as it addresses the question of how to safeguard the vehicle itself. Second, the security of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication becomes equally vital, be it with other vehicles or roadside systems.

To navigate these challenges effectively, a multi-dimensional approach to security is essential. We can categorize this approach into several key dimensions:

  1. Identity and Access Management (IAM): This stands as the bedrock of connected vehicle security. Establishing clear and secure identities for vehicles is crucial. This involves authentication and authorization processes for various stakeholders, including vehicle owners, drivers, manufacturers, and dealers.
  2. Software Security and Vulnerabilities: Applications and workloads that operate within the vehicle must be fortified. Software vulnerabilities are exacerbated by the interconnected nature of modern vehicles, which are intricately linked to the internet, dealers, and manufacturers. Supply chain risks and software provenance can amplify these vulnerabilities, especially as various components and software traverse the supply chain.
  3. Communication and Standards: The third facet revolves around establishing effective communication and adherence to standards. This involves securing over-the-air or internet software upgrades, enforcing isolation to prevent the spread of breaches, and establishing communication standards to facilitate secure interactions between various components.

To succinctly encapsulate these challenges, IAM emerges as the foundational element, followed by addressing software vulnerabilities stemming from supply chain intricacies and software provenance. Additionally, ensuring secure network communication, standardization, and effective encryption play crucial roles in the overall security paradigm.

This comprehensive overview provides valuable insights into the intricate challenges that characterize the landscape of connected vehicles and IoT, shedding light on the critical interplay between security and technological advancement.

Question 2: Autonomous vehicles heavily rely on IoT sensors and communication systems. What measures do you recommend to enhance the security and reliability of these IoT components, reducing the risk of potential cyber-attacks or system malfunctions?

Ravi: Certainly, fortifying the security and reliability of IoT systems encompasses a threefold approach, as we’ve previously explored: identity and access management, software security, and network communication. Within each of these dimensions, there exist strategic measures that can effectively address the challenges at hand.

Identity and Access Management:

In this foundational realm, establishing and maintaining robust identities for IoT devices is critical. To enhance security and reliability:

  • Provisioning Birth Identities: Immediate provisioning of birth identities during manufacturing or staging is crucial. This includes not only identities for entire vehicles but also for individual components, such as electronic control units (ECUs) and gateways.
  • Identity Lifecycle Management: Continuously manage identities throughout their lifecycle, including rotation for heightened security. This entails the use of machine identity management vendors to streamline the provisioning and management of digital certificates that provide trust.
  • Compliance and Policy Enforcement: Ensure compliance with established policies and standards by implementing mechanisms that guarantee proper cipher configurations, key sizes, and other security measures.
  • Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) or Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs): Store identities securely within IoT devices using dedicated HSMs, TPMs, or similar technologies.
Software Security and Workloads:

Securing the software and workloads that run within IoT devices is of paramount importance. Key measures include:

  • Secure Boot Mechanisms: Implement secure boot processes to ensure the integrity of the operating system and underlying infrastructure. This prevents tampering and guarantees a secure execution environment.
  • Code Signing and Whitelisting: Digitally sign all software and workloads before deployment and maintain a whitelist of approved signatures to verify the integrity of code running within the device.
  • Secure Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates: Utilize certificates or session keys for secure transfer of firmware and software updates. This ensures that updates are authentic and encrypted.
Network Communication:

Securing the communication between IoT devices and the broader network infrastructure requires strategic measures:

  • Network Segmentation: Implement network segmentation within IoT devices to isolate various functions. This prevents unauthorized access from impacting the entire system and mitigates potential breaches.
  • Anomaly Detection: Incorporate mechanisms to monitor network traffic and detect anomalies. Rapid detection of unusual patterns, such as frequent restarts or unexpected behavior, helps identify potential security breaches.

These measures collectively form a comprehensive strategy to bolster security and reliability in IoT systems. By focusing on robust identity management, secure software practices, and well-structured network communication, vehicle and automobile component manufacturers can substantially mitigate risks and build a resilient foundation for their connected devices and vehicles.

Question 3: In the context of smart transportation and IoT, how can vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication be secured?

Ravi: When talking about connected vehicles and their security, two distinct domains come to the forefront: secure onboarding communications and Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (CITS).

Secure Onboarding Communications:

When talking about Secure Onboarding Communications, the emphasis lies on fortifying individual vehicles and their internal components, such as gateways and ECUs. This involves safeguarding these core components from potential threats. Integral to this endeavor is Identity Provisioning, which ensures that each vehicle and component possesses a secure identity, often established during the manufacturing or staging process. Throughout their lifecycle, meticulous Lifecycle Management is maintained, including the rotation of certificates to bolster security over time. Compliance and Policy Enforcement are integral, ensuring adherence to security standards, encompassing cipher configurations, key sizes, and other vital measures. Additionally, Hardware Security, facilitated by technologies like Hardware Security Modules (HSMs), is employed to securely store identities, secrets, and keys, adding an extra layer of protection.

Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (CITS):

CITS focuses on how vehicles communicate with each other and with infrastructure to enhance safety and services. Here’s how security is bolstered:

  • Geographic Authentication: Implementing authentication mechanisms that take into account geographic proximity to ensure vehicles only communicate with nearby and trusted counterparts.
  • Privacy Filters: Ensuring that sensitive and private information is not inadvertently exposed during vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.
  • Collision Avoidance Algorithms: Developing communication systems that prioritize safety and collision avoidance over other potential purposes.
  • Dynamic Communication Parameters: Regularly changing communication frequencies and rotation of keys to prevent unauthorized access and maintain security.
  • Remote Attestation: Ensuring the integrity of infrastructure by allowing vehicles and infrastructure components to verify each other’s authenticity and integrity remotely.
  • Hardware Root of Trust: Utilizing hardware-based mechanisms to establish a foundational level of trust between vehicles and infrastructure components.

By meticulously addressing security in these areas, the automotive industry can ensure safer and more reliable connected vehicle systems.

Closing Thoughts

Machine identity management plays a pivotal role in fortifying IoT applications within the Automotive sector. By ensuring robust and secure identities for vehicles and their components, machine identity management establishes a foundation of trust authentication and encryption to safeguard against unauthorized access, tampering, and cyber threats. It facilitates the secure onboarding of vehicles, enabling the provisioning and continuous lifecycle management of identities.

In addition, machine identity management supports the dynamic rotation of certificates, compliance enforcement, and hardware security measures. This comprehensive approach not only enhances the security of individual vehicles but also bolsters communication between vehicles and infrastructure, driving the safe and reliable functioning of connected cars and Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (CITS).

Talk to an Expert Today!


  • Automotive
  • cyber-attacks
  • Identity and Access Management
  • IoT
  • IoT components
  • Network Communication
  • Software Security

About the Author

Debarati Biswas

Senior Specialist- Product Marketing

A content creator and a lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity. She pens insightful resources to address the pain points of the readers and prospective buyers and help them make well-informed decisions.

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