The race for cybersecurity: Protecting the connected car in the era of new regulation

Cybersecurity has risen in importance as the automotive industry undergoes a transformation driven by new personal-mobility concepts, autonomous driving, vehicle electrification, and car connectivity. In fact, it has become a core consideration, given the digitization of in-car systems, the propagation of software, and the creation of new, fully digital mobility services. These services include arrays of car apps, online offerings, vehicle features that customers can buy and unlock online, and charging stations for e-vehicles that “talk” to on-board electronics.

To protect these new digital assets, the automotive industry must develop common cybersecurity standards, in part to keep development and maintenance costs under control. On this issue, OEMs and suppliers must speak one language to ensure manageable, end-to-end secure solutions.

Automakers should attack the new cybersecurity and software-update challenges both along the value chain and across the digital lifecycle of their cars. To do this, they should focus on four core themes: Establish a clear baseline to execute against; create a true digital-security-by-design culture in engineering, quality assurance, and other core value-chain functions; ramp up expertise and capabilities to monitor the cybersecurity of cars on the road; and adopt software-engineering practices that embrace function-based development, solid version control, and integration testing.