Design principles apply to almost all products in every industry, including automakers. By using design principles, automakers mitigate future threats and build security into the car’s systems right from the outset. This means giving priority to security at each design stage and involving all individuals responsible for designing the final product.
For example, the principle of “separation of duties” means including more than one person in completing a critical task, where possible. This helps to prevent fraud and errors, while offering a more objective judgement. Another important security design principle is “defense in depth.” This principle stipulates that more security controls which mitigate various risks should be used, even where one security control alone might be sufficient.
Using the principle of “fail safe” is integral to making sure systems are backed up in the event of failure, which essentially means never allowing the security of the system and its data to be at risk. The “open design” principle is crucial to make sure a security solution is as solid as possible: Open design means publishing a security design so it can be scrutinized and evaluated by the wider community in hopes of catching and correcting any weaknesses.
These are just a few of the design principles that can play an important role in building advanced car security, with others including the principles of least privilege, complete mediation, least common mechanism, psychological acceptability, weakest link, and leveraging existing components.
Automakers should consider seeking external insights to help them along on this journey. Receiving valuable feedback and having an objective eye on your security design is possible by partnering with experts that can offer this kind of consultation. Working with a partner with expertise on design phase and proof of concept implementation can help automakers not only streamline their design process, but also fundamentally enhance the design with the help of experts in the design field.
However, much of this progress in connected car security would be truly propelled if OEMs and automakers adopted a more collaborative approach in sharing successful security designs. While we are a long way from seeing collaboration in such a competitive industry, there are some signs that it might be on the horizon. For example, the Autosar Adaptive Platform offers OEMs methodological support to implement security by design. The project is a work in progress and is yet to be adopted by many OEMs, but it represents a step in the right direction by sharing knowledge to fuel progress.