6 Minutes of Security: Cybersecurity Risks in Automotive Electronics

By: Sergio Marchese, Technical Marketing Manager


I love the summer holidays! Even more when I haven’t much of a plan and can enjoy a sense of freedom and adventure. A few years back, I went traveling with a campervan with a few friends, and we did exactly that. In fact, with the COVID-19 situation, traveling with a campervan is a great holiday option. The only problem is that I don’t quite enjoy driving. I would rather plan my next destination, sit back, and relax watching the view, chatting, or sleeping and waking up at the arrival. We are not there yet, but the technology for autonomous vehicles (AVs) is progressing rapidly. I am confident it is only a matter of time. Unfortunately, cybersecurity attacks are also on the rise. Should I worry that some nasty engineers may hack my vehicle and drive me to the office instead of my favorite beach?


The upcoming ISO/SAE 21434 international standard is dedicated to the cybersecurity of electrical and electronic (E/E) systems in road vehicles. Besides reducing the risk of holiday disruptions, the standard will dramatically improve the privacy of car owners and help protect intellectual properties (IPs) and other assets of car producers and their supply chain. As there is no safety without security, a successful car hack could put many lives in danger. That is why ISO/SAE 21434 references and complements the ISO 26262 automotive functional safety standard. As it may be expected, threat scenarios that could lead to high-severity consequences deserve more attention and, potentially, require the specification and implementation of controls for risk reduction.