No Functional Safety without Cyber Security

From certain points of view, classic cars can be superior to modern cars in the category of safety, although not necessarily on the subject of chassis, airbags or in terms of active safety. However, in modern concepts, where the mechanical fallback level or the driver as a link to steering and brakes is eliminated, every interface to the outside offers a potential gateway for cyberattacks.

Of course, almost no one wants to do without helpful electronic aids or long-established standards such as ABS, ESP or power steering. Nevertheless, the latest safety features such as distance control, lane assist or even highly automated driving functions have their pitfalls if the cybersecurity aspect is neglected.

Dr. Marcus Perner, specialist for functional safety of chassis components at IAV, knows why we need not be afraid to sit in highly automated vehicles that are driven by a digital chauffeur, at least at times.

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Dr. Perner, is a ride in an automated car always a risk?

Perner: We must be aware that cyberattacks in the automotive sector are a realistic threat. After all, safety-relevant driving functions and personal data can become the focus of hackers. Since braking and steering functions are essential for safe driving, we are currently working on harmonising cybersecurity and functional safety in the development of fault- and attack-tolerant driving functions so that everyone can get into the car with a good feeling.

What are the possible threat scenarios?

Perner: The identification of possible threat scenarios is part of the Threat Analysis and Risk Assessment (TARA). This is a security analysis consisting of various individual methods. Various threats are conceivable. Fake messages can occur, with regard to the authenticity of the sender as well as the correctness of the data. Furthermore, the failure of relevant driving functions must be avoided, such as the steering function or a weakening of the braking performance. And thirdly, we have the violation of safety targets, for example if someone hacks the car and controls it remotely. These few examples already show that they are partly interdependent and can have similar effects. Therefore, the identified threats from cybersecurity must be taken into account in the development activities for functional safety.

How can IAV increase the safety of highly automated vehicles?

Perner: We can take over important activities for our customers along the security development cycle at system level, as well as at software and hardware level. This includes the implementation of TARA and the definition of the cybersecurity concept. In addition, we keep an eye on the relevant standards and regulations, such as ISO 21434, and analyse and update our services for the security of vehicles even after their market launch, so that they always meet the highest security requirements.

Would you like to learn more about this topic? Then you can experience Dr. Marcus Perner live at Chassis Tech in Munich, on 6 July. There, our colleague will give his lecture with the topic “The key for the vehicle of the future – development of chassis components according to cybersecurity specifications” from 11:00 am in the Palaishalle. Or meet him and his team at the IAV booth in the exhibition area / booth no. 3.