Continental Partners With Argus & Elektrobit on Connected Car Security

Auto supply and technology specialist Continental is entering into a new partnership with Argus Cyber Security and Elektrobit to offer security and over-the-air (OTA) software updates that will be pre-integrated into its telematics units, infotainment systems, gateways and other components.

Argus specializes in multi-layered technologies offering protection from cyber attacks that target connected vehicle, as well as the ability to detect and respond to these attacks in real time.

This layer of protection is offered through the company’s Connectivity Protection platform and the Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS).

In addition, the company’s operations center provides its OEMs’ partners with visibility into the “cyberhealth” of their fleets, analysis of cross-fleet information to generate insights into the nature of attacks when they happen, identification of emerging threats, and a rapid response to incidents by immunizing the fleet.

For its part, Elektrobit offers security components for the application layer, as well as hardware-specific security products to counter and prevent attacks.

To react as quickly as possible and install software patches to resolve vulnerabilities in their fleets around the world, vehicle manufacturers can tap into Sync — Elektrobit’s over-the-air software update service.

“With up to 100 electronic control units and 100 million lines of code in vehicles today, one of the challenges lies in the complexity of modern vehicle architectures and software,” Werner Koestler, head of strategy at Continental’s interior division, told TU-Automotive in an email interview. “Besides this, vehicles are typically on the road for ten years or more and technology as well as attacks are evolving.”

Koestler explained that OEMs cannot expect that the security mechanisms built in during development of a vehicle will suffice for the entire lifespan of a vehicle. That’s why a new system of constant updates and patching is needed.

Continental is integrating Elektrobit and Argus technologies as part of its portfolio, and is also developing control units, which themselves serve as important elements in the security chain.

For instance, Continental’s Gateway acts as a router within the vehicle computing network in classical distributed in-vehicle computing architectures or today’s domain architectures.

The Gateway integrates security features from Argus and enables basic vehicle diagnostics and over-the-air software update capabilities through Elektrobit to monitor the vehicle’s cyberhealth and allow for immediate updates if needed.

For future server-based architectures, Continental is offering the In-Vehicle Server — a computing unit that acts as a network manager and communication interface.

It also provides a central architectural element leveraging the full spectrum of over-the-air software updates for remote maintenance and cybersecurity for the entire vehicle.

“Continental strongly advocates for a multilayered end-to-end cyber security approach, which starts with day one of the development for a new vehicle, and allows monitoring and updating of vehicles on the road over-the-air during their entire lifespan,” Koestler wrote. “Because automotive cyber security requires a multi-layered end-to-end approach, we need the competencies of all three parties.”

Koestler added that the interplay between Continental, Argus and Elektrobit marks a unusual cooperation in the automotive industry, combining Continental’s broad customer base and market footprint, as well as automotive expertise with the best team in automotive cybersecurity and with Elektrobit’s deep software knowledge.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.

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