It is becoming evident that connected cars and autonomous vehicles are becoming a reality. With the advent of intelligent transportation systems (ITS), we are heading towards a world where these smart cars are driven in smart cities.
However, with smart cities come smart cyber-criminals and the associated cyber-attacks that have the potential to cause chaos and mayhem.
“Trend Micro has launched a new in depth report, Cyberattacks Against Intelligent Transportation Systems, taking a hard look at what future threats we may expect with regard to ITS. By assessing these threats, and knowing what we may encounter, we are in a better position to prevent attacks,” says Anvee Alderton, channel manager for Trend Micro Southern Africa.
ITS is connected and autonomous vehicles, cameras and sensors, traffic monitoring, e-tickets and RFID — essentially, a host of automated systems that make traffic flow easier to control and manage.
However, having an entire transport system digitised opens it up to attack from nation states, hacktivists, cyber terrorists and others with wide ranging motives such as making money, causing chaos or stealing information. Road side message boards have already been hacked and cameras infected with ransomware. ITS brings its own set of risks.
It’s not just the various governments and policy makers who are aware of how important ITS and all the components that come with it can be. The IT security industry have delved into car hacking techniques, learning different attack vector that could be used on connected vehicles, and have begun to find ways to secure these systems.
The entire road network, in order to be effective, needs to function safely, and Trend Micro’s report takes an in-depth look at not only attack vectors that can be applied to vehicles, but to the entire system.
This includes vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure and infrastructure-to-infrastructure. What’s also vital to consider is communications systems, and threats to automated tolls, weather stations, speed sensors and a myriad of other systems that ensure travellers’ safety on the roads.
“The report also outlines the threats and solutions regarding ITS. It’s quite a challenge to secure such a vast system against cyber-attacks, however, solutions such as firewalls, anti-malware, network segmentation, patch management and vulnerability scanning, when used together, can go a long way to holding off any malicious actors,” Alderton advises.