Secure Communication Unit: protection of cars connected to the Internet

In response to the growing cyber security challenges facing the industry of autonomous and connected cars, Kaspersky Lab and AVL Software and Functions GmbH presented the Secure Communication Unit (SCU) during the Frankfurt New Mobility World / IAA 2017 exhibition.

AVL is the world's largest independent company specializing in the development, simulation and development of drive systems testing technology (hybrid solutions, internal combustion engines, transmissions, electric motors, batteries and software) used in passenger cars, trucks and high-power engines. The company has over 8,600 employees around the world. In 2016, the company's sales revenues amounted to EUR 1.4 billion. The prototype of the security solution developed demonstrates the possibility of interference-resistant communication between vehicle components, the car and its external cloud infrastructure, thanks to which modern vehicles can be designed taking into account aspects of cyber security.

The task of the Secure Communication Unit is to make the cars connected to the Internet safe from the assumption, regardless of the software and systems they will be equipped with. SCU is a communication control unit connected to several sub-networks and / or controllers of these sub-networks within the automotive network, acting as a single security gateway for all incoming and outgoing communication. Based on the enforcement of security policy and strong separation, to prevent unwanted contact between various components of the car, the software helps to ensure correct, interference-free communication within the vehicle network.

The trusted SCU software platform consists of security components that guarantee security at the design stage. First, the patented microkernel operating system (KasperskyOS) is based on well-established safety principles and has been developed especially for embedded systems with stringent cyber security requirements. KasperskyOS eliminates the possibility of undocumented functionality and thus mitigates the risk of cyber attacks: even if embedded unauthorized code will not be executed, because such undocumented functionality is not allowed by default. The other components include the security policy engine (Kaspersky Security System), which defines the specific scope and nature of the interaction between the various components and the trusted channel structure along with a set of encryption algorithms, as well as low-level protection services based on hardware capabilities.

The presented SCU prototype has been implemented, for example, in the ARMv7 architecture with the recommended 128 MB RAM memory. There is also the possibility of developing other hardware platforms for individual cases in accordance with the requirements of a given manufacturer.

The presented platform provides a construction framework for specific, customized applications, enabling car manufacturers to develop and implement unique SCUs in their vehicles based on specific hardware and additional software components in accordance with their production plans. SCU is available for OEMs, ODMs, system integrators and software developers around the world.

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