Cyber Security and Its Importance for the Future of the Automotive Industry

By Frank von Seth, CEO, cyan digital security

Cyber Security is becoming increasingly important in the automotive industry. Developments such as networking, connectivity, and autonomous driving continue to drive digitization in the automotive industry. The challenge is that a higher degree of digitalization also opens up gateways for hackers. However, companies should not let themselves be led by fear of possible IT security gaps, but should face the issue professionally, with expertise and awareness.

Dealing with Cyber Security and the fear of attacks

Basically, it doesn’t help any internet user if we always refer to horror scenarios on the subject of digital security. In practical terms, this means that companies and consumers should be equipped with the necessary knowledge to be active without danger. After all, no car driver today panics as soon as he gets into the car and puts on his seatbelt. Instead, everyone knows that the best possible protection measures are already installed in the event of emergencies.

Fear often leads to insecurity and thus, not infrequently, to a worsening of the threat situation; because one reacts too quickly or too slowly and thus incorrectly. This realization applies in the private as well as the economic sphere. To stay with the automotive industry: Cyber Security does not protect against a total loss after the event, but it represents a type of next stage-development towards more security in the automotive sector, and historically follows seat belts, airbags, and driver assistance systems.

Making use of existing security systems

Cyber Security is thus intrinsic in a series of crucial achievements. In order to optimize it still further, companies should focus above all on know-how and awareness. They can apply much more effective measures against digital attacks than fear, which actually only intensifies the threat situation.

The mere awareness that criminals are trying to penetrate the company’s own IT infrastructure leads decision-makers and their IT departments to look for suitable solutions to detect and defend against cyber attacks; not hastily, but factually. This way, investments are made in the appropriate expertise, through which the company is able to efficiently protect sensitive data, important information and also internal and external communication from unauthorized access.

Instead of fear-mongering, practical solutions for efficient protection

The trend of using consumer fear to highlight the strengths of one’s own products and services has become familiar in many areas, including the mobile phone sector. In this sector in particular, due to the countless mobile phone users around the globe, it is important not to make users afraid of losing their privacy through hacker attacks, but to present them with constructive solution systems with which they can efficiently protect themselves and their end devices.

Network-, application- and platform-based security solutions are particularly effective for securing everyday internet use. These IT solutions should be practical and at the same time offer efficient protection. This also includes sophisticated “threat intelligence”, which combines automated intelligence with the knowledge of competent security experts.

In concrete terms, threat intelligence – which we at cyan digital security use in daily cooperation with globally active companies – means linking various digital functions within an ecosystem. In our approach, this includes comprehensive Big Data analysis, which processes over 1,000 billion anonymized DNS queries per month, identifies suspicious domains and feeds them into a company’s own research system. In addition, there is Global Live Sourcing, in the context of which content analyses can be carried out 24/7 in data centers stationed around the world. Thus up-to-date information can be delivered to the security filter database.

A team of competent security experts evaluates all research results and thus guarantees the quality with regard to automated website categorization. In addition, the database is updated every 2 hours, which means that new defense mechanisms are available in real-time in the customer systems if required.

High-performance systems for Cyber Security – automotive industry can benefit

All newly developed technology, including threat intelligence, which is very effective in providing more security against cyber crime, should be examined by companies to see whether it can be integrated into their own products or offered as a service. If one thinks of the automotive industry, the idea of protecting the vehicle’s own systems from hacker attacks by means of modern Cyber Security systems is obvious.

For example, corresponding solutions could be used to protect the communication devices integrated in vehicles. The automotive industry must also take the most efficient protective measures possible for the other electronic systems in cars, trucks and buses, which are increasingly functioning via software. Especially in the area of autonomous driving, there is a growing number of points of vulnerability due to the high degree of vehicle-automation. Until now, the idea that someone from outside may take control of a vehicle and thus cause material or even human damage may still sound like the plot of an exciting thriller. In the near future, such threat scenarios will become more likely. Nevertheless, I am firmly convinced that the preventive use of automated security measures ensures proactive protection.

Cyber Security in the automotive industry is therefore a burning issue that companies must consistently address, if they want to supply customers with vehicles in which they can travel safely.

Frank von Seth started his professional career as an Insurance and Risk Consultant with several companies on three continents and five different countries. Before joining cyan, Frank served Aon in Switzerland for over ten years. He started his current position as the CEO of cyan AG and is now leading the company into its future while working on a safer tomorrow for everyone by safeguarding users on their daily digital and connected journey.


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