More than 20 million cars to ship with security software by 2020: ABI Research

More than 20 million connected cars will ship with built-in software-based security technology by 2020, according to a new study from ABI Research.

Although telematics safety services have typically focused on stolen vehicle tracking and diagnostics to physical protect vehicles, awareness is growing about the threat of cyber attacks and the risks these pose, especially given developments in vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous vehicles.

In response, carmakers and suppliers are beginning to source security technology, says the market-research company.

“So far connected car security has been mainly based on hardware protection and separation with infotainment and vehicle-centric safety systems shielded from each other,” said Dominique Bonte, vice president and practice director at ABI Research.

“However, the shift towards cost-effective software-based security based on virtualization, containerization and sandboxing is well under way with Harman [Stamford, CT, USA] and Mentor Graphics [Wilsonville, OR, USA] as some of the leading vendors.”

US tech giant Cisco (San Jose, CA, USA) is partnering with Continental (Hannover, Germany) and Visteon (Van Buren Township, MI, USA) to bring enterprise IT connectivity-based security technologies – such as private networks, IPsec, encryption and authentication – to an automotive industry that lacks in-house expertise, says ABI Research.

But the company points out that security is not just about technology and that car companies will have to adopt cost-effective risk management practices to prevent cyber attacks in future.

These could include security-based design procedures and audit and monitoring policies aimed at preventing malicious intrusions.

ABI Research says security is also closely linked to the “secondary effect of compromised privacy” – a major barrier for autonomous vehicle adoption and a concern that is exacerbated by the sensitive nature of geo-location data.