Automotive Communications and Security

ASN1-ITS

Much information has been discussed and been in the news regarding the vulnerability of vehicle components. The added convenience that technology brings to vehicles is accompanied by the danger that malicious individuals can use that very same technology for nefarious purposes. Who would like to see the nightmare scenario of someone with a smartphone being able to take over the steering, acceleration and braking, or even lighting of a vehicle?

Information security is a broad and complex subject. The numerous security flaws, small or large, that are discovered in all kinds of computer systems, including the major security breaches that catch the attention of the media, have various origins. In some cases, the cause of a security breach is human error; in others, there could be a conceptual flaw in the system's design which makes an attack possible; some security flaws are due to programming errors; in some cases, there could be a flaw in a communication protocol; and so on.

Some of the security flaws related to communication protocols can be prevented by the use of ASN.1.

First, the use of the ASN.1 notation, which is very concise and readable, allows protocol designers to focus on the main information content of the messages without being distracted by the details of the encoding. This characteristic of ASN.1 also makes it easier to reason about a message and to spot defects that might have an impact on security.

Second, commercial ASN.1 software such as OSS' tools have been proven by decades of use in critical infrastructure and regularly undergo thorough testing, including specialized testing for vulnerabilities such as the PROTOS and NISCC suite of tests.

ASN.1 has been used in communication protocols across various industries for decades. Standard schemas written in ASN.1 undergo international expert reviews, which make them less likely to contain security holes.

When standard ASN.1 schemas and solid commercial tools are used for communication, the likelihood of malicious individuals being able to find any vulnerability is greatly reduced. Vehicles and infrastructure equipment using the same technology (ASN.1) and commercial-grade software currently deployed in aviation, mobile phones, banking protocols, credit card point-of-sale devices, and satellite communications are more readily trusted.

ASN.1 is proven technology, which continues to be used in new areas because of its reliability, unambiguity, and the impeccable support of vendors such as OSS Nokalva.

 

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