Security in Remote Diagnostics – Challenge & Chance

Security in Remote Diagnostics – Challenge & Chance

Günter Fahböck, Project Manager, Softing Automotive.

The growing demand for comfort as well as the necessity to be able to access a vehicle any time any place means that the days of taking your vehicle down to the local repair shop for a diagnostic service are over for good. The possibility of being able to access a vehicle remotely is rapidly gaining in importance.

The increasing complexity of the networks installed in the vehicles as well as the necessity to be able to update software on installed ECUs at any time, partly for financial reasons, are also driving this tendency.

The possibility of remote maintenance is of immense importance, particularly when it comes to commercial vehicles. In this sector, downtimes have an immediate financial impact.

But of course accessing a vehicle from a distance also entails risks: There is the danger of unauthorized access to the communication paths over the entire transmission link. Data theft, data modification along with the defective functions this causes are just a few examples of attacks which can lead to considerable financial damage as well as represent genuine danger for life and limb.

So it is imperative that the security of such remote access infrastructures is ensured. This includes not only the communication links but also the applications involved in them and of course the relevant data (ODX, OTX, …). The only way of ensuring secure communication is to use viable end-2-end protection.

The use of modern encryption procedures, whether symmetric or asymmetric, the installation of gateways to be used as a firewall, as well as the protection at diagnostic protocol level (UDS, DoIP, …) with TLS offer a sound basis for secure remote diagnostics in the future.