Source: David Barzilai

Cybersecurity has become a hot topic in the vehicle industry. Since the Jeep Cherokee cyberattack in 2015, which resulted in the recall of 1.4 million vehicles, to the formation of the AutoISAC, which allows vehicle OEMs and tier-1s selling in the US to share cyberattack best practices.

However, while passenger cars and light trucks are just becoming connected, hence becoming targets for cyberattacks, trucks are miles ahead.

In 2017 alone, more than $721 billion worth of freight was moved across North America on trucks, representing more than 57 percent of the value of all freight shipped on the continent. This statistic illustrates just how large and important the trucking industry is. Trucking provides the backbone of logistics for countless companies and government offices around the world – and is also potentially a major target for cyberattacks. Driving across the country trucks are connected extensively, e.g. reporting to fleet managers of their location and status. Connected systems always attract hackers.

Today’s long-haul trucks are a world apart from the fleet that moved product just a decade or so ago. The average long-haul truck built today is chock full of connected IoT devices that generate data that help shipping companies run smarter and more efficiently than ever before.  Connectivity offers significant impacts in other areas like reducing driver fatigue, improving safety and implementing incremental savings on fuel. This will offer unparalleled efficiencies which will translate to great economic value for the whole nation. With such great economical values also comes the cybersecurity risks.

Connectivity Attracts Hackers

Hacking trucks is even more lucrative, and the reward is even larger than datacenter cyberattacks.

Hackers who target trucks can obtain local data, modify it, take control over safety components and gain financial benefits from stealing the cargo. They can execute a ransom attack or steal corporate info (penetrate the fleet manager database from the truck).

Think, what if the control of an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler barreling down the freeway at 70 mph can be overtaken by a remote attacker?

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

This is where cybersecurity and safety meet, and it is the new frontier of trucking cybersecurity solutions.

The trucking industry has prioritized cybersecurity across the board from the enterprise systems to vehicles themselves, where embedded, built-in cybersecurity provides the appropriate safety net.

Runtime integrity technology blocks attack attempts at the gate. Trucking architecture that introduces self-protected components safeguards the connected vehicle without relying on connectivity or malware, from the moment the truck leaves the factory. Runtime integrity focuses on eliminating Remote Code Execution (RCE) risks and work autonomously also on safety components, without the need of dependence on statistical algorithms, which can’t be always reliable due to their heuristic backbone.

Matching investment in advance vehicle technologies with the appropriate cybersecurity ones allows truck manufacturers to assure vehicle safety and the continuous growth of this industry. Manufacturers that have the vision and foresight to drive automotive and cybersecurity technologies in parallel are shaping their market share and offering their motor carriers competitive advantages.