Can M2M Bring Security to the Connected Car?

9/20/2013
At this point, there is little doubt we’ll all be seeing many connected cars on the road in the near future. But one idea that has arguably continued to plague the connected car industry is that of safety and security. Skeptical consumers want to know just how trustworthy this technology is, and whether it’s a wise decision to have it in an automotive setting.

ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, recently set out to answer this question with its Car OEM (original-equipment manufacturer) Safety and Security Telematics Competitive Assessment. The study analyzed and ranked 12 automotive OEMs using six “Innovation” and six “Implementation” criteria, as well as a market share analysis.

The study ranked GM, www.gm.com, as the company with the safest and most secure telematics offerings. Specifically cited were the company’s recent launch of OnStar services in Mexico, as well as features such as advanced stolen vehicle tracking, emergency calling, and remote diagnostics services. The company was also praised for its market share, as well as quality and reliability.


Among the 12 OEMs ranked, Ford, www.ford.com, placed second, and Toyota, www.toyota.com, placed third.

“While many OEMs continue to focus on connected infotainment, safety, and security offers have made something of a comeback … Car OEMs should start seeing safety and security features as a default capability,” says Domonique Bonte, vice president and practice director at ABI Research.

Meanwhile, Guardtime, www.guardtime.com, and Symphony Teleca, www.symphonyteleca.com, are attempting to change the approach to connected security altogether, with the development of Keyless Signature Infrastructure. The system attaches complex mathematical “tags” directly to data, which makes any access to it a documented and verifiable event. Time, identity, and authenticity are protected and verified in realtime using Guardtime’s “proof-based” technology, as opposed to administrators, or credentials which could be compromised.

“As we talk with our automotive customers, we realize that cyber liability is the elephant in the room,” says Russ Cavan, global head of products and platform strategy at Symphony Teleca. “With Guardtime, we can now provide assurance to the data transiting that we design, build, and host, as well as the principle of mutual auditability to our customers keeping the ecosystem accountable.”

Evidently, security in the connected car is on the minds of OEMs and connected security companies, as well as consumers. Though one might argue the connected car ecosystem is still very much a work in progress, clearly safety and security are high priorities as that ecosystem continues to take shape.

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