Cyber Security

Continental@IAA 2017

Cyber security for Connected Vehicles

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Cyber security: at the heart of the development of Continental products and services

In the future the vehicle is permanently and seemlessly connected. This serves for new functions in the car and beyond, for example regarding infotainment, vehicle security or  intelligent traffic management. At the same time Holistic Connectivity also is the key to automated vehicles. However, new functions such as wireless updates to vehicle electronics are accompanied by risks, especially when it comes to data transfer between the car an its environment. Therefore for Continental cyber security is at the heart of the development of products and services.

Cyber security starts from the beginning of component development
Continental is developing end-to-end solutions with the aim of ensuring the highest possible degree of security at all times. We have a proactive approach, that takes cyber security into account right from day one in product development, so that potential security loopholes do not arise in the first place. We conduct a detailed risk analysis for new projects to ensure secure products and services that comply with the regulations. We refer to this process as 'security and privacy threat analysis, risk assessment and risk treatment', and we consider not only initial development but also the entire product life cycle. End-to-end security solutions are used with the primary goal of detecting and preventing attacks on a vehicle (external interface protection & monitoring). To do this, Continental protects the vehicle's communication interfaces with the outside world. An additional security level is to protect the vehicle system itself. So we constantly check communication on the CAN bus for anomalies, and for communication between individual control units to be encrypted (in-vehicle network protection & monitoring). Permanently monitoring the current status of the vehicle system (in-vehicle state-of-health monitoring) also adds to more security. This must be reported regularly to a security operations center, so that vehicle fleets can be checked for security loopholes. This leads to much faster development and implementation of security patches, which can be imported via over-the-air updates quickly and without the need for a service center visit.
This ecosystem of security-relevant elements, developed by Continental, allows for a customized design for our customers from a single source, and one that is available right from the early definition phase of a project. The overall package is completed by the involvement of specialized software products of the Continental subsidiary Elektrobit. This enables the developers to call upon both basic software components and application software when building the security architecture for the electronic control units so that they can make the system secure.

Cyber security in four stages
Cyber security is one of the major tasks facing the entire automotive industry. Continental looks at it from four angles.
  • The first concerns the individual electronic components, which act as tiny computers responsible for all manner of functions in the vehicle.
  • Secondly, communication between these individual components, which represents the entire system that is the vehicle.
  • Thirdly, the numerous interfaces between the vehicle and the outside world.
  • Fourthly, data transfer and processing outside the vehicle, including the cloud and the back end.
Complete end-to-end solution from a single source



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