Drivers used to think of vehicle safety systems as strictly mechanical elements like seat belts, brakes, and crunch zones. But today, safety systems have become completely dependent on electronics and sensors – airbags, ABS, blind spot indicators, cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, just to name a few. This makes sense considering how rapidly safety tech has evolved, the value of marketing the assurance of safety in a vehicle, and the countless lives saved by automated safeguards.
But what happens when the integrity of data generated by safety tech comes into question? Who is liable if a hacker manipulates the data sent by a blind-spot detection safety system and the orange or red indicator remained unlit as a car sped past? This issue is very important because of the overriding need to be safe and to feel safe when on the road. The damage to a vehicle brand, and the liability to a business that sells unsafe vehicles, is long and far reaching. In some cases, it is unrecoverable. Therefore, as modern vehicles become more connected and automated, the biggest reason for security is safety.
Many fundamental driver controls, such as headlamps or automatic door locks, have a dual purpose as a safety device. What is not well understood in the mobility industry is that vehicle security also has a dual purpose as a safety device. This is true because safety devices are vulnerable to attacks and indeed threaten driver and passenger safety, as detailed in Andy Greenberg’s article in Wired.
Another aspect of vehicle safety that is often overlooked is data privacy. As automakers increasingly market themselves as technology companies, it’s important to note that tech titans, such as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Apple CEO Tim Cook, view data privacy as a human right and welcome stringent privacy standards. When it comes to connected vehicles, safety and data privacy are two sides of the same coin. For example, many modern vehicles feature real-time GPS information – it takes just a short stretch of the imagination to consider the consequences of an angry spouse who is able to easily track the location of a person fleeing from domestic abuse. In other words, leaders in the mobility industry who are concerned about driver safety must consider data privacy, in addition to security, as a benchmark for evaluating vehicle systems.
The mobility industry is connecting vehicles in all sorts of ways via Bluetooth, WiFi, LTE, and OBD-2 to name a few. Each of these access surfaces are a magnet for hackers and bad actors. What is still in the process of becoming better understood is the mounting liabilities associated with vulnerable safety systems and unprotected driver data. Trillium’s trusted data management platform mitigates the risks of operating connected vehicle fleets. Learn more about Trillium’s secure platform as a service at www.trilliumsecure.com