Symantec unveils smart system to protect connected cars

Symantec unveils smart system to protect connected cars

Cyber-security firm Symantec has unveiled an anomaly detection system for connected cars to fight against zero-day attacks and other issues.

The system means Symantec is bringing its security and analytics expertise across IoT networks to the connected car. It claims the system can identify issues early on to find solutions.

Connected cars popular but challenging

Connected cars are growing rapidly in popularity and adoption, offering benefits such as remote roadside assistance and mobile hotspots. According to Gartner, there’ll be 220 million connected cars on the road by 2020.

While these cars offer many benefits, there are also a plethora of challenges. The connected car is becoming a lucrative target for hackers, who are constantly finding different avenues for attack, putting drivers and passengers in grave risk.

Last year, researchers working for car manufacturer Jeep were able to hack into a Cherokee Model as it drove at more than 70mph on a US freeway. And research suggests that more and more consumers are becoming concerned about connected car safety.

A smart system for connected cars

The Symantec Anomaly Detection for Automotive system wants to put their minds at ease. Using intelligent machine learning, it provides in-vehicle security analytics for monitoring traffic, understanding what normal behaviour is and flagging possible attacks.  It can work with any automotive make and model.

Christian Christiansen, IDC VP of security products, said: “The Internet of Things contains many different areas, but connected automobiles will radically alter transportation and mobile communications.

“As connected automobiles become the norm, security issues have already drawn attention. Driven by opportunity, manufacturers and their suppliers will partner with cybersecurity vendors on securing connected cars as they would with any other networked endpoints such as mobile devices and laptops.”

Related: BMW leverages IoT for connected car services

“More can go wrong”

Barry Nielsen, automotive solutions director at Stericycle Expert Solutions, spoke to Internet of Business about the dangers of connected cars. He said: “The fact is that cars, in their sophistication, now have a lot more that can go wrong.

“Instead of looking under the bonnet and recognising the common parts of an engine, you are more likely to see the engine control unit – a complex computer that controls the performance, fuel efficiency and emissions of the vehicle.

“And it is this growing use of new components, new technology and software – which now accounts for around a quarter of the cost of building a vehicle – that is adding further challenges in what is already a complex market.”

Insurance needs rapid change

Edo Tealdi, managing director of digital at NTT DATA UK, believes that rapid changes to insurance are needed in order to support connected and driverless cars.

He said: “Driverless cars have the potential to make lives more convenient, travelling greener and roads safer. Nonetheless, the question remains, will traditionally conservative motor insurers keep up with the pace of change?

“Everything from traffic safety and infotainment, to cost efficiency and convenience are undergoing a digital transformation. Snapshots of information related to an event or incident can be recorded for future analysis of vehicle dynamics, driver inputs, seatbelt usage or airbag deployment. This level of transparency, insight and evidence is staggering and has the potential to revolutionise traditional ‘box-ticking’ insurance processes.  

“The stage is set for the insurance industry to embrace a new era of technology, adapt processes and introduce a digital-first approach. One thing is for sure, consumers will expect change or will look elsewhere, raising the prospect of disruptive new cover providers impacting their business.”  

Related: 2 in 3 UK consumers concerned about IoT security