Synopsys and SAE International release a new study highlighting critical cybersecurity risks in the automotive industry

Synopsys, Inc. and SAE International, a global association of engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries, have released the report, Securing the Modern Vehicle: A Study of Automotive Industry Cybersecurity Practices. Based on a survey of global automotive manufacturers and suppliers conducted by Ponemon Institute, the report highlights critical cybersecurity challenges and deficiencies affecting many organisations in the automotive industry. The study found that 84 per cent of automotive professionals have concerns that their organisations’ cybersecurity practices are not keeping pace with evolving technologies. The survey also found that 30 per cent of organisations do not have an established cybersecurity program or team, and 63 per cent test less than half of the automotive technology they develop for security vulnerabilities.

“SAE, in partnership with Synopsys, is pleased to present the findings of this study, as it provides real-world data to validate the concerns of cybersecurity professionals across the industry and highlights a path forward,” said Jack Pokrzywa, SAE International director of Ground Vehicle Standards. “SAE members have sought to address cybersecurity challenges in the automotive systems development lifecycle for the last decade and worked together to publish SAE J3061™, the world’s first automotive cybersecurity standard. Armed with the findings of the study, SAE stands ready to convene the industry and lead development of targeted security controls, technical training, standards, and best practices to improve the security, and thus the safety, of modern vehicles.”

Synopsys and SAE commissioned the Ponemon Institute, a leading IT security research organisation, to examine current cybersecurity practices in the automotive industry and its capability to address software security risks inherent in connected, software-enabled vehicles. Ponemon surveyed 593 professionals from global automotive manufacturers, suppliers and service providers. To ensure knowledgeable responses, all respondents are involved in assessing or contributing to the security of automotive technologies, including infotainment systems, telematics, steering systems, cameras, SoC-based components, driverless and autonomous vehicles, and RF technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, among others.

“The proliferation of software, connectivity, and other emerging technologies in the automotive industry has introduced a critical vector of risk that didn’t exist before: cybersecurity,” said Andreas Kuehlmann, co-general manager of the Synopsys Software Integrity Group. “This study underscores the need for a fundamental shift—one that addresses cybersecurity holistically across the systems development lifecycle and throughout the automotive supply chain. Fortunately, the technology and best practices required to address these challenges already exists, and Synopsys is poised to help the industry embrace them.”

Other key findings from the survey highlight:

  • Lack of cybersecurity skills and resources. More than half of respondents say their organisation doesn’t allocate enough budget and human capital to cybersecurity, while 62 per cent say they don’t possess the necessary cybersecurity skills in product development.
  • Proactive cybersecurity testing is not a priority. Less than half of organisations test their products for security vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, 71 per cent believe that pressure to meet product deadlines is the primary factor leading to security vulnerabilities.
  • Developers need cybersecurity training. Only 33 per cent of respondents reported that their organisations educate developers on secure coding methods. Additionally, 60 per cent say a lack of understanding or training in secure coding practices is a primary factor that leads to vulnerabilities.
  • Cybersecurity risk throughout the supply chain. Seventy-three per cent of respondents expressed concern about the cybersecurity of automotive technologies supplied by third parties. Meanwhile, only 44 per cent say their organisation imposes cybersecurity requirements for products provided by upstream suppliers.

Download a free copy of the report: Securing the Modern Vehicle: A Study of Automotive Industry Cybersecurity Practices.

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