A Framework for Policy Based Secure Intra Vehicle Communication

Hamad, Mohammad; Nolte, Marcus; Prevelakis, Vassilis

Over the past two decades, significant developments were introduced within the vehicular domain, evolving the modern vehicle into a network of dozens of embedded systems each hosting one or more applications. Communications within this distributed environment while adhering to safety-critical and secure systems guidelines implies the formulation of a comprehensive and consistent communications policy. Creating this policy is a complex, error-prone and labor-intensive task, requiring detailed knowledge of possible communication paths between all possible components of the system. For this reason, it is often skipped, trusting that each task will behave as intended and interact only with its peers. Traditional testing provides sufficient confidence to allow certification. Nevertheless, the existing process ignores malicious interference, whereby an adversary compromises a low-criticality process or subsystem and uses that to attack other subsystems, effectively taking over the vehicle. In this paper, we propose a framework to build a secure communications policy gradually by integrating it through the design and life cycle of vehicle’s software components. We also propose a security module which acts as a connection policy checker vetting the incoming and outgoing communications and enforcing the distributed security policy.


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