A car's architecture may resemble a datacenter's architecture. However, the biggest cyber security risk for an enterprise data center is loss of data, while the biggest risk for a car is loss of life.
This is why preventing attacks before they can do any harm is so important for automotive cybersecurity solutions - it’s the only way to assure the ongoing safety of the vehicle.
Typical enterprise cybersecurity solutions rely on heuristics to try to identify anomalous behavior that indicates an attack.
These heuristic algorithms can generate a lot of false positives, as infrequent, legitimate operations trigger alarms. A false positive in an enterprise can be a distraction and time waster, but in a car, it can endanger the car’s safety.
Blocking a legitimate command that looks like an anomaly can block airbags from deploying or brakes from engaging and result in a fatal car crash.
When a new attack is detected by heuristic cybersecurity solutions, car OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers need time to identify the security vulnerability that was exploited and then develop, test, QA and distribute a security patch to fix it, via an Over the Air (OTA) update.
The OTA update itself may be swift, but the vulnerability identification and remediation typically takes weeks. During that time, cars could find themselves under attack, by hackers exploiting the vulnerability, with disastrous consequences, including loss of life.
Because the stakes are so high for consumers, car OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers, automotive cybersecurity has to get it right. There’s no room for error, no time for mistakes.
Automotive cyberattacks use one of two vectors to infiltrate vehicles:
1. Compromising one of the externally connected electronic control units (ECUs), which serve as gates into the car.
2. Physically hacking the car’s network to impersonate and send commands to safety ECUs from an unauthorized source.
Karamba developed award winning, patented runtime integrity technology that shuts down both automotive attack vectors – ECUs and in-car networks – to enable end-to-end prevention of automotive cyberattacks. A functional and safe approach of Control Flow Integrity (CFI) is crucial to enable the vehicles' safe functionality without false positives during runtime. For many years the value of CFI was sought after but not possible in the resource-constrained embedded systems. Uniquely enabling this security protection is at the heart of the Karamba innovative patented technology. Karamba’s autonomous security accounts for the uniqueness of a car’s architecture and the automotive industry’s constraints to deliver in-vehicle security. A vehicle’s ECUs are not like a datacenter’s servers or laptops – they must not be changed by a user, only by the OEM – so Karamba focuses on keeping the ECUs running exactly as they are supposed to, according to factory settings, making them impenetrable to attack.
Karamba seamlessly takes an ECU’s factory settings and automatically generates a policy that will instantly detect foreign code and in-memory attacks, and autonomously shut down any exploits, at runtime, with no intervention needed. Karamba also leverages Authentication Encryption in-car networks to prevent hackers from sending malicious commands from unauthorized sources to a vehicle’s safety systems, stopping an attack, immediately, with no overhead.
Karamba’s autonomous security is contained in the ECUs’ firmware. It doesn't need constant updates to stay current or rely on heuristic analysis that is prone to false alarms to try to detect an attack. Karamba makes sure that a vehicle’s ECUs run according to factory settings and communicate only with legitimate pre-authorized peer systems. Anything that deviates from the factory settings is blocked or ignored.
To make this autonomous automotive security possible, Karamba brought four major technological breakthroughs to market, including the ability to:
In addition to protecting the ECUs themselves, Karamba can protect the communications to the ECUs. This ensures that safety ECUs, such as brakes and air bags, receive commands only from authorized sources, so they operate as they should.
Karamba’s autonomous network hardening security software uses patented runtime integrity technology to automatically authenticate all network communications. This prevents attackers from physically hacking into the car or impersonating a legitimate source and sending malicious commands to the car’s ECUs that can risk the car’s safety.
The authentication is done without requiring the ECUs’ Tier-1 providers to change their development methods or change the ECU’s architecture. By automatic encryption of the ECUs’ traffic with zero network overhead, car networks can be authenticated, so malicious commands sent from non-authorized sources are automatically ignored and prevented from doing any harm.
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