Security in automotive networks: Lightweight authentication and authorization

Philipp Mundhenk, Andrew Paverd, Artur Mrowca, Sebastian Steinhorst, Martin Lukasiewycz, Suhaib A. Fahmy, Samarjit Chakraborty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


With the increasing amount of interconnections between vehicles, the attack surface of internal vehicle networks is rising steeply. Although these networks are shielded against external attacks, they often do not have any internal security to protect against malicious components or adversaries who can breach the network perimeter. To secure the in-vehicle network, all communicating components must be authenticated, and only authorized components should be allowed to send and receivemessages. This is achieved through the use of an authentication framework. Cryptography is widely used to authenticate communicating parties and provide secure communication channels (e.g., Internet communication). However, the real-time performance requirements of in-vehicle networks restrict the types of cryptographic algorithms and protocols that may be used. In particular, asymmetric cryptography is computationally infeasible during vehicle operation. In this work, we address the challenges of designing authentication protocols for automotive systems. We present Lightweight Authentication for Secure Automotive Networks (LASAN), a full lifecycle authentication approach.We describe the core LASAN protocols and show how they protect the internal vehicle network while complying with the real-time constraints and low computational resources of this domain. By leveraging the fixed structure of automotive networks, we minimize bandwidth and computation requirements. Unlike previous work, we also explain how this framework can be integrated into all aspects of the automotive product lifecycle, including manufacturing, vehicle maintenance, and software updates. We evaluate LASAN in two different ways: First, we analyze the security properties of the protocols using established protocol verification techniques based on formal methods. Second, we evaluate the timing requirements of LASAN and compare these to other frameworks using a new highly modular discrete event simulator for in-vehicle networks, which we have developed for this evaluation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

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Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2021-03-16


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