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Making the Connected Car Secure

The connected car represents one of the fastest growing IoT markets. By 2020, an estimated 250 million connected vehicles will be on the roads worldwide, with each one featuring 200 or more sensors continuously collecting and utilizing data about road conditions, the car, and driver preferences, according to Industry Week.

As the number of connected cars rises, so do security concerns and hacking fears. In 2015, Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles after hackers proved that they could remotely hijack a Jeep, disabling the car’s brakes. More recently, Hyundai released a patch for its smart car app Blue Link because of two security vulnerabilities. Because of incidents like these, a public service announcement by the FBI warned consumers that it’s possible for malicious third parties to remotely exploit connected motor vehicles. With the vulnerabilities of these cars becoming increasingly apparent, the question facing auto manufacturers and IoT platforms is: how do we protect connected vehicles and the people driving them?

Consider Security From the Start

Security needs to be a priority from the beginning in order to secure connected cars and ensure that consumers are safe behind the wheel. It can’t be an afterthought. Auto manufacturers need to correctly integrate connectivity and services into their cars during the design stage to reduce security risks later. In addition, connected cars need to undergo rigorous testing well before they reach consumers. The security and functionality of traffic, map, and weather apps need to be verified, as a breach involving any of these services may jeopardize consumer safety and result in an accident.

While the connected car is in transit from the manufacturer to the dealership, connectivity needs to turn off automatically. If the car is hacked at this point, third parties may plant a back door, allowing them access to the car and its data at any point in the future. Once the vehicle arrives at its destination, connectivity needs to be turned back on, with security measures in place to prevent theft and remote control while the car’s services are being demonstrated to shoppers.

Once the connected car reaches the consumer, ongoing maintenance is required to ensure security. Fortunately, the very nature of connected cars enables proactive, over-the-air updates, bug fixes, and patches based on real-time data. However, it’s also advisable for automotive manufacturers to partner with aftermarket solution providers and security experts to ensure that their vehicles are safe long-term.

The security measures discussed in today’s article can be achieved with the guidance and functionality of a leading Internet of Things platform. In working together on IoT security initiatives, auto manufacturers and IoT platforms can keep consumers, their vehicles, and their data secure and safe from harm.


  • Industry Week: Addressing Privacy and Security Issues in the Connected Car, Pavan K. Agarwal and Chanley T. Howell
  • Wired: The Jeep Hackers Are Back to Prove Car Hacking Can Get Much Worse, Andy Greenberg
  • Road Show: Hyundai patches Blue Link app to remove vulnerabilitiesAndrew Krok
  • FBI, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: PSA – Motor Vehicles Increasingly Vulnerable to Remote Exploits
Case Study: IoT is redefining the customer experience. Nokia case study.

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