Last week, Trillium’s CEO attended the awards ceremony for the Red Herring Asia 2017 competition in Manila. On this spectacular occasion, Trillium is proud to accept the Red Herring Top 100 Asia Award. We are honored to be recognized for the creativity and hard work of our growing team by the renowned Red Herring leadership and community. We want to express our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all our supporters, and hope we can continue to grow together.
Autonomous vehicles are here today, and unbeknownst to many, they are already on public roads, test driving next to unsuspecting traffic – this is done before proper legislation to protect innocent bystanders is put into place.
This reality is one that causes great concern among the few who are aware of it. There is almost no regulation at a local level, and the technology is still very much in the development phase. Even worse, much of the development is conducted on public roads, right alongside human drivers. What will prevent an experiment from turning into an accident, potentially taking lives in the process?
Luckily, you will not have to fear for the safety of public roads much longer. On Tuesday, September 12th, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administered their updated guidelines on development of Autonomous Drive Systems (ADS). This document helps local governments develop their own regulations, as well as providing businesses developing ADS a clear message of what will and will not be tolerated.
It is no surprise that vehicle cybersecurity is listed as one of the 12 essential safety design elements. Without cybersecurity, a vehicle becomes a hacker’s plaything – allowing them to take complete control of the car, including steering, braking, and acceleration. The possibilities for malicious abuse of autonomous cars are endless, ranging from extortion to remote cyber terrorism. The NHTSA stresses the importance of cybersecurity, stating that entities developing ADS “should insist that their suppliers build into their equipment robust cybersecurity features. Entities should also address cybersecurity, but they should not wait to receive equipment from a supplier before doing so.” The message is clear and urgent; implement cybersecurity at every level, and do it quickly.
Trillium agrees, and we are ready to help suppliers, developers, and OEMs implement these guidelines today. Trillium has partnered with the world’s largest automotive IC vendor, NXP, to provide support for Trillium’s SecureCAR platform on NXP’s next-generation S32K automotive microcontrollers (MCU). Our modular, multilayered approach also allows for developers of ADS technology to add cybersecurity directly onto their existing hardware today – without requiring costly changes to their underlying systems.
It is essential that the industry adopts these guidelines quickly and immediately, especially as autonomous vehicles are deployed on an increasingly larger scale. As connectivity and reliance on machine learning increase, so will the damage hackers can cause. Autonomous cars are set to shift the entire transportation landscape, with companies rolling out entire fleets within the next ten years. One rogue autonomous car is a hazard, an army of hacker-controlled vehicles is an avoidable, unnatural disaster.
“Software is eating the world” – perhaps no other phrase better sums up the era in which we live. In this increasingly interconnected world, new software-driven technologies continue to revolutionize every aspect of our lives. One important consequence of this innovation has been the rise of smarter medical devices, such as software-controlled pacemakers, which have contributed towards increasing the average life expectancy in the US every year for nearly the past quarter century. Now these life-giving devices, to which many owe their lives, are squarely in the crosshairs of hackers.
On August 29th, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a recall on St. Jude Medical pacemakers, stressing that the means to conduct an attack on these pacemakers are easily and commercially available today. Despite the reported ease of accessibility of the hack, the potential consequences are grim: hackers would have the ability to either drain the battery or administer incorrect pacing, with either attack resulting in a sudden cardiac arrest. Such an event can easily prove fatal if proper medical care is not administered immediately.
While no cases have been reported thus far, all pacemakers of the recalled model require an update to their firmware, one that allows only verified parties to make changes to its settings. This process will no doubt carry a hefty price, both in time spent and resources used to carry out the modification. The lack of a secure path to quickly update the settings of these devices is a key issue in this case, once again stressing the necessity for seamless over-the-air updates in modern technology.
The FDA has set a strong example: no longer shall cybersecurity be treated as an inconvenience. It is of utmost importance that device manufacturers, physicians, and patients all heed this warning. Trillium agrees, and looks forwards towards a world in which every device is safe from hackers, but until that day, we must strive to improve cybersecurity in not just one industry, but in every industry. Trillium’s portfolio of lightweight, scalable, and effective cybersecurity solutions were created with this goal in mind.
Trillium had a great run at the Technology in Motion conference last week! It was a great event filled with informational speeches and populated with the best in the industry. We would like to extend a special thanks to our partners who visited our booth, as well as the organizers and judges who saw fit to award us with the User Experience Award!
We’ve all heard of this famous thought experiment: if there was a trolley heading down the tracks towards five people, and you had the choice to divert the trolley to an alternate track with only one person, should you do so? This question is perhaps the simplest way to demonstrate the complex ethical challenges facing the deployment of autonomous cars.
It is crucial that in this early stage of the autonomous revolution, governments must legislate a specific code of ethics for autonomous cars to prevent horrendous abuses of this newfound power. Germany, for example, has taken a step in the right direction, recently releasing a report on automated and connected driving. In this report, they outline 20 guidelines regarding the ethics of autonomous vehicles. These initial guidelines form an important precedent, for the first time giving manufacturers a clear idea of what core principles their autonomous systems should follow.
A few key points within the report highlight several necessary changes to vehicle systems:
- The driver of a vehicle retains their rights over the personal information collected from that vehicle. Use of this data by third parties must be with the owner’s informed consent and with no harm resulting.
- The vehicle should have an aviation-style “Black Box” that continuously records events, including who or what is in control at any given time.
- The threat of maliciously hacking any autonomous driving system must be mitigated by effective safeguards. Software should be designed with a level of security that makes malicious hacking exceedingly unlikely.
The first point demonstrates the necessity of maintaining privacy within a vehicle. Without respecting the rights of the vehicle owner, an OEM is infringing on that person’s right to privacy. Trillium shares this concern, and as such we have developed our SecureSKYE data mining and analytics solution with the consumer’s protection in mind every step of the way.
The second point demonstrates the importance of data integrity. This “Black Box” will be as crucial a safety feature as seatbelts and airbags historically has been, allowing improvements to be made to prevent future crashes. Without data integrity, however, any data recorded will be useless as it is open to manipulation by malicious third parties. It will only serve as a convenient collection of data for cybercriminals to steal. Trillium addresses concerns of data integrity with SecureCAR encryption, authentication, and dynamic key-lock pairing, placing the data safe behind multiple layers of security built from the ground up for automotive applications.
The third point demonstrates the importance of system-wide use of a multilayered security solution. Any cyber-security system requires not just one, but multiple layers of security to effectively safeguard against attacks. Each additional layer of security lowers the success rate of an attack exponentially. Trillium strongly agrees, offering an extensive portfolio of modular security solutions to allow for complete use of all available security resources, no matter the computational strength of the system.
Without flexible, multilayered security and customizable data analytics, manufacturing safe autonomous and connected cars is an impossible endeavor. More countries need to recognize the pressing importance of the matter before it’s too late. Germany understands the threat that autonomous and connected cars will bring, and we hope to see more countries adopt similar guidelines within the near future.
Click the link below to read an interview with Yukihiro Yamamoto, Senior Director of Business Development & Operations at Trillium Japan about our take on Automotive Cyber Security! (Japanese language only)
Throughout history, governments have played a huge part in the development of technologies and their uses, often stepping in to ensure quality of use, safety, and standardization of industry best practices.
Whenever technology impacts society on a large scale, the potential negative consequences need to be considered alongside the benefits, and when it comes to connected cars, the biggest of these threats is undoubtedly cyber terrorism. With the age of self-driving cars and smart cities just over the horizon, government legislation is transforming our connected future from mere theory into reality.
Earlier in August, the United Kingdom published their “Principles of cyber security for connected and automated vehicles,” a set of guidelines detailing the necessities of connected and automated vehicles in the future. Such direct legislation is clear indication of the seriousness of the matter of automotive cyber security. What has long been simply the work of fiction and research is quickly become a potential threat to the connected car landscape, and having governments recognize it as such is the first step in creating a safer IoT driven world. Without such official recognition, the gravity of this threat is likely to be lost on the public until it is too late – that is, when an automotive cyber-terrorist attack has already taken place.
Of the many detailed guidelines laid out in the list of principles, two key points must be given special attention:
- Principle 3.1
- Organizations plan for how to maintain security over the lifetime of their systems, including any necessary after-sales support services.
- Principle 5.1
- The security of the system does not rely on single points of failure, security by obscuration or anything which cannot be readily changed, should it be compromised.
The first of these principles presents a clear message – for any system to be fully secure, it must be maintainable for the duration of its lifetime. Patching of exposed exploits and/or other threats is a necessity, as cyber security is an ever-evolving field in which a static defense system has no place. This same sentiment is echoed in Trillium’s philosophy, as part of our multi-layered SecureIOT platform is our SecureOTA and SecureSKYE systems, that enable an over-the-air update system designed from the ground up expressly for use in an automotive environment.
The second principle quoted is just as, if not more important than the first. The emphasis in this message is that no system is safe if its defense is concentrated on a single point of failure – multiple layers of security are necessary. In accepting the reality that no single security system alone is impregnable, the only solution therefore is to provide multiple systems under a single ecosystem. This message is the core of Trillium’s philosophy, the conviction that security done right has not one layer of protection, but multiple layers.
The United Kingdom’s foresight to develop such legislation pre-emptively is an example to be followed, and we hope to see more countries follow suit as this issue reaches more of the public.
Cyber terrorism is not an idle threat. New malware and cyber-attacks are developed every day, all created with the intent of stealing money, information, identities, or as in the case of Car hacking inflict physical damage and wreaking serious havoc.
The explosive nature of the cyber battlefield has resulted in frequent anti-virus/anti-malware updates becoming a necessity, a needed measure against new attacks that exploit devices not protected by older software.
Now compare this dynamic environment to that of an automobile’s development. Designing and producing a new car is a task that takes years, with plans only rarely being changed once an OEM moves past the design stage. To assume security measures developed in such a static environment can hold up to the barrage of never ending cyber threats is naïve. In a recent article, Automotive World calls for an overhaul of the approach taken to cyber security in vehicles, both before and after a car is sold.
The needed steps to be taken to improve automotive cyber security best practices starts with regular checking of software integrity throughout the design process. Instead of leaving software analysis to the end of a vehicle’s design period, it should be checked throughout each stage of its development. As new features are added and old ones updated, software used must be scanned for bugs that could later cause problems. Automotive World emphasizes the risks OEM face by not catching code issues early on, such as delays in development, vehicle recalls, or loss of life due to a cyber-attack. To ensure the quality of the testing done, they also strongly encourage the use of third-party penetration testing and consultation services to expose holes potentially unseen by the developers. Firms like Trillium play an important part in this procedure, giving OEM the opportunity to strengthen their cars’ cybersecurity from an early stage in the development process and throughout.
The second solution to this lack of preparedness is to implement updates to their security after they’ve left the factory floor. It is unreasonable to expect cars to roll out onto the streets with perfect code, but any bugs found need to be addressed by the OEM. Legislation is moving in favor of placing the responsibility of car software integrity in the hands of the producer, meaning OEM and other suppliers need to provide the means of keeping cars safe once they are on the road. To this end, Over-The-Air update services like those found in SecureOTA are needed, giving vehicles the fast, seamless security updates they need to stay protected in cyberspace. As cars become more and more integrated into their environments thanks to V2V and V2X technology, the speed at which new attacks are brought to bear on vehicles will only increase, and only software of the highest quality can ready drivers for future threats.
Responsibility is one of the most widely contested facets involved in the production and integration of autonomous vehicles. Since they have existed, autonomous cars have been surrounded by debate regarding who should take responsibility in the case of a collision or other incident involving one. While the days of streets filled with self-driving cars are yet far off, governments are starting to see the earliest manifestations of legislation in the field.
Recently, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism published the conclusions deemed from their meeting in late April, where they deliberated on the matter of liability in traffic accidents concerning autonomous vehicles. The discussion was focused on fully automatic cars, with the key point of discussion stemming from the cause of an incident – whether it was due to a glitch or to human error. Their consensus can be summarized as follows.
“It was proposed that, when the cause of the accident is due to a glitch in the system, the costs should be borne not only by insurance companies but by the manufacturers.”
The article published in Keizaikai Magazine goes into further detail, expressly mentioning the case of a car hack, saying that “Should a vehicle that is hijacked through some external cause, such as hacking, become involved in an accident, the case would be treated in the same manner as one involving a stolen car.”
The message being conveyed here is clear. In the event that a structural flaw in the autonomation systems of a vehicle is responsible for a traffic incident, the driver is not to be held responsible. This act of solidifying the policies to be taken regarding autonomous vehicles is a necessary step in integrating them into society, and serves as a great wake-up call to automotive insurers and manufacturers alike. The threat of car hacks grows more prominent by the day, and if cars aren’t equipped with reliable cybersecurity measures, the lives of their drivers will be at risk. If manufacturers want to protect their customers and themselves from this threat, a clear hands on cyber strategy is needed.
The importance of Trillium’s multilayered approach cannot be emphasized enough – any system that employs only one defensive measure puts itself at risk of a devastating breach. Quite simply, single layered defense open up for single point of failure. The cars of tomorrow need not only IDPS (Intrusion Detection and Protection Systems) blocking attacks from entering the vehicle, but also sturdy protection of the IVN (In-Vehicle Network) that roams behind gateway units, else they risk losing everything upon the inevitable breach of a single layer defense.
Yesterday, a new largescale ransomware attack dubbed Petya hit computers all across the globe, disrupting operations in industry sectors and governments alike. The ransomware, similar to the WannaCry attacks earlier this year, demanded that a ransom be paid in BitCoin in exchange for decrypting of a computer’s files. The extent of the damage even reached so far as to disable the Chernobyl power plant’s website, forcing radiation monitoring to be carried out by hand.
One point to mention however – Petya isn’t ransomware.
According to Adam Clark Estes of Gizmodo, experts think that the objective of this attack was not profit, it was chaos. As investigation into the nature of the attacks proceeded, it soon became clear that due to the way it was designed, it would be nearly impossible for the attackers to gain any monetary profit through it. The email supposedly associated with the ransom was taken down by the host, meaning no payment could be received. With no way to pay the ransom, any afflicted machine thus becomes locked without a way out -cyber terrorism disguised as ransomware.
As fate would have it, this attack operates as an improved version of the WannaCry attack, utilizing the same Windows vulnerability -EternalBlue. Despite the media proudly announcing that a “cure” or “kill-switch” to the WannaCry attack was discovered, the same weak point was exploited, showing once again how truly unprepared the world is for sophisticated cyber-attacks. According to CNNtech, even Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers was hit by the attack.
The failure of the world to defend itself from such an attack is an embarrassment. The logical shift to dealing with cybersecurity is not being made often enough, with so many governments and corporations still not realizing that a system cannot last long without updating. Failure to update operating systems and software leads to situations like this, where old vulnerabilities remain exploitable by hackers. For the societies of the future, in which the integrity of every IoT-connected device is necessary, the ability to keep software equipped with the latest security solutions is paramount.
This reality is the driving motivation behind the development of Trillium’s SecureOTA platform, designed to swiftly and seamlessly update security measures on devices as often as needed. Such functionality is key to ensuring the long-lasting effectiveness of any security system, for as the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”