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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Recent hacks of connected vehicles can teach AV developers how to design cybersecurity measures that are cued by anomalies in vehicle behavior.

Why it matters: Today's connected vehicles lack adequate security systems, and autonomous vehicles will have far more vulnerabilities, raising the stakes even higher.

Background: Some current vehicles have anti-malware systems adapted from the IT world, but those are not in wide use and are not robust enough to fully protect connected vehicles, let alone AVs.

  • Hackers have compromised a vehicle's onboard computer using its tire pressure monitor sensor and via SMS messages sent over 4G networks.
  • They have assumed varying degrees of control over connected vehicles using Wi-Fi connections as well, including steering and braking systems, and via over-the-air updates and onboard diagnostic ports.

AV systems are more multifaceted, creating new vulnerabilities, particularly with vehicle-to-everything connectivity in place. They also have more sensors; when sensor data is uploaded to servers, that creates another point of vulnerability.

What's needed: So far, manufacturers have responded by issuing security updates for vehicles — but a proactive system that can anticipate and prevent attacks will be imperative for AV safety. One strategy — being explored by companies like SafeRide Technologies, Vectra, PerimeterX, and ExtraHop — is to examine malware behavior.

  • A behavior-based security system could be triggered by behavior anomalies, rather than detecting a malware's signature. Triggers could include an upload to a sensor server with fewer or more bytes than typically expected or superfluous computer activity registered by the engine control unit.
  • This system could work regardless of the attack type or vulnerability targeted, which is critical given that hackers can mutate code endlessly.

What to watch: Behavior-based security systems must have the capability to learn vehicle behavior independently, without dependency on every software or hardware vendor, and regardless of data formats. Since that would require computing power that only advanced, high-end vehicles have onboard, most cars would need to rely on network bandwidth to run the detection program on the cloud.

Yossi Vardi is the CEO of SafeRide Technologies, an automotive cybersecurity startup.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
18 mins ago - Economy & Business

Private equity's other tax fight

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Private equity is carefully watching the D.C. debate on corporate taxes, in which Senate Democrats seem to be settling on a 25% rate.

Zoom in: Marginal rates obviously matter, but for PE it's just an appetizer before the weedier work begins on issues like corporate interest deductibility.

Making sense of Biden's big emissions promise

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's new U.S. emissions-cutting target is a sign of White House ambition and a number that distills the tough political and policy maneuvers needed to realize those aims.

Driving the news: This morning the White House unveiled a nonbinding goal under the Paris Agreement that calls for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.

Biden pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030

U.S. President Joe Biden seen in the Oval Office on April 15. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

The Biden administration is moving to address global warming by setting a new, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Why it matters: The new, non-binding target is about twice as ambitious as the previous U.S. target of a 26% to 28% cut by 2025, which was set during the Obama administration. White House officials described the goal as ambitious but achievable during a call with reporters Tuesday night.