|Infineon and other semiconductor companies are now working to make the security of the car's microchips improve more / Photo by: Rufus46 via Wikimedia Commons|
A number of hardware companies like Infineon Technologies and NXP Semiconductors and Microchip Technology create ways to improve the security surrounding the chips used in automobiles. These have become especially important since the advent of self-driving cars, as threats to the security of these devices, and the risks and issues that may ensue, could prove to be very dangerous for passengers. Hackers' methods have already evolved, using a single electronic unit like an infotainment system to take all of its contained personal information and even taking control of the brakes or engine of the vehicle.
Infineon, the second largest supplier of automotive chips, stated a few weeks ago that their newest platform module would target the electronic control units in cars. These microcontrollers are normally used to store security keys in data centers and personal computers, to prove that they users are indeed who they say they are. This is where the new Optiga TPM comes in. As Martin Brunner, the current automotive security principal for Infineon, states, “As a computer on wheels, the connected car benefits from the experience of the information technology industry, in the complex interplay between software, network and cloud, security hardware creates the solid foundation for secured communication.” This new Optiga microcontroller essentially creates and stores passcodes that can be used for authentication and encryption of the car’s communications. This new security device would allow the respective manufacturers to see any faulty components and determine if the car is running on any form of manipulated software. This could make for easier monitoring, as well as an improved understanding of the car's communications. Infineon states that their latest product also has the ability to undergo updates in order to strength its security over time.
This is just one of the ways that hardware and security-focused devices are becoming more common in these types of vehicles. While there are other platforms aside from Infineon's, there is no doubt that considering the security component of your self-driving car could very well save your life.