The Importance of Cybersecurity in the Automotive Industry

Written by: Hanna Taller

Read Time: 3 min

Nowadays vehicles are more and more connected. Modern vehicles come with a variety of software systems, such as online updates, Bluetooth, LTE, WiFi, and more. More connectivity means more risks to car cybersecurity as a whole. The number of connected interfaces in automobiles increases exponentially year after year. Research done by Juniper Research has found that the number of vehicles with embedded connectivity will reach 200 million globally by 2025. To keep up with the increasing complexity in modern automobiles, and ensure the safety of the user, the automotive industry developed ISO 21434. A standard that promotes cybersecurity in road vehicle systems.

Why is automotive cybersecurity important? 

Although there are many benefits that come with driving a connected car (5G wireless connectivity to enable self-driving capabilities, advanced navigation systems, fewer road accidents being a few of them), the increasing amount of software in vehicles has also led to heightened cybersecurity concerns. Networked and semi-autonomous cars are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than their predecessors. As a result, manufacturers all over the world are looking to mitigate those vulnerabilities and reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries they could cause. 

However, existing industry standards for road vehicles’ cybersecurity engineering were not comprehensive enough; they did not cover the safeguards that should be in place to mitigate cybersecurity risks. Therefore, a new standard was needed to make sure that automotive cybersecurity is taken into account at every stage of the product life cycle in automotive development, and that the necessary safeguards are implemented at every step of the way. This is where ISO 21434 comes in. 

How does ISO 21434 affect automotive OEMs and suppliers? 

The purpose of ISO 21434 is to encourage automotive OEMs and suppliers to consider cybersecurity concerns and measures throughout the whole lifecycle of the product. In order to comply with ISO automotive cybersecurity requirements, OEMs and suppliers need to be able to demonstrate that they have implemented the recommended safeguards and done their due diligence. It also requires that OEMs and suppliers demonstrate that the full supply chain is covered: the full responsibility remains with the manufacturer. 

ISO 21434 promotes organizations adopting a ‘security and privacy first’ mindset, which is why ISO 21434 lays out guidelines for the whole product development lifecycle. It follows the V model and details how cybersecurity comes into every phase: from requirement definition to design, implementation, testing, operations, all the way to retirements. Some of the activities OEMs and suppliers need to do according to this guideline are the following: 

  • Carrying out risk assessments 
  • Identifying cybersecurity vulnerabilities 
  • Ensuring development is undertaken with the correct safeguard in place to address these vulnerabilities 
  • Rigorously testing applications and software/hardware components to make sure these risks have been mitigated 

How the right tooling can help 

With various industry regulations to adhere to and a vast amount of software code, automotive development processes are probably among the most complex life cycles that companies face. 

ISO 21434 promotes guidelines with requirements that must be met to promote cybersecurity in the automotive industry. Having the right tooling in place to support compliance is essential for meeting the requirements of ISO 21434 and other rules and regulations of the industry. Codebeamer’s Automotive Template can help you cut the time, and costs of achieving compliance. The Automotive template offers baked-in domain knowledge and automotive systems engineering best practices, compliant workflows, and ample flexibility for customization.

Learn more about Codebeamer's Automotive Template!

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Tags: Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Codebeamer Automotive Regulatory Compliance

About the Author

Hanna Taller

Hanna Taller is a content creator for PTC’s ALM Marketing team. She is responsible for increasing brand awareness and driving thought leadership for Codebeamer. Hanna is passionate about creating insightful content centered around ALM, life sciences, automotive technology, and avionics.