In my podcast, I explore the many different facets of the world of high tech from development to marketing, to sales, to entrepreneurship, all with the goal of collecting key insights on startups for listeners to gain value from this knowledge-sharing. So what did I discover this week?

The future of transportation is closely tied to the development of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles (AVs). These vehicles are capable of driving themselves, safely, with very little or zero human intervention, and they promise to revolutionize the way we move around. However, while their benefits are clear, the rise of autonomous vehicles also raises important questions about security. As these vehicles are more computer than machine and as they become more sophisticated and more widely adopted, the need for clear, advanced cybersecurity measures becomes increasingly critical.

Roy Fridman founded C2A Security to address this changing transportation reality. The company has developed a suite of cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions specifically tailored to the unique challenges of self-driving vehicles, as they are also called. These solutions are designed to protect against a wide range of threats, including hacking, malware, and other forms of cyber attack. With a focus on connected and electric vehicles, C2A Security is at the forefront of innovation in this rapidly evolving field.

Our Cars Need to Be Treated Like More Computer Than Machine

“Right now, the cybersecurity present in most self-driving vehicles is not enough”, Roy explains, and the fact of the matter is that it needs to be improved if the cars are to be used in a more widespread capacity. Electric Vehicles present significant cybersecurity risks, both the vehicles themselves and the infrastructure that supports them. Effective cybersecurity is crucial for ensuring the safety and reliability of AVs, protecting the sensitive data generated by these vehicles, and promoting public trust in this technology.  

“Think about the consequences of a hacker taking control of your car while you're on the road,” Roy adds, “it could be very bad and that’s just one type of problem.” A growing concern with AVs is the potential for cyber attacks that could compromise the safety of the vehicle or its passengers. AVs rely on complex systems that integrate sensors, cameras, and other technologies to navigate and make decisions. If a hacker were to gain access to these systems, they could manipulate the vehicle's sensors to cause the AV to crash or make it difficult for the AV to navigate safely. Or, they could even access the charging station used by the AV to insert malware into the car, leading to some road incidents. In these cases, AVs become much more of a liability than an innovative tool.

In addition to the inherent safety risks, AVs also generate vast amounts of data that could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This data includes information about the vehicle's location, speed, and other details that could be valuable to hackers. “Consider your phone is connected to the car, that’s now vulnerable to attack,” Roy says. If this data were to fall into the wrong hands, it could be used for nefarious purposes, such as identity theft or other types of cybercrime. Adopting proper security measures like those being developed by C2A seems to be the main way to protect against these types of attacks. And, with better, proper cybersecurity methods, comes the confidence in AVs to lead us into a new era of transportation.

Effective Cybersecurity Promotes Trust

As is the case in many industries, regulations and safety standards are essential for promoting public trust - and AVs are no different. Despite the many potential benefits of this technology, there are still concerns among the general public about the safety and reliability of AVs. “Self-driving vehicles are definitely going to become more popular. The question is will we be prepared to deal with that?” Roy emphasizes. If there were to be high-profile cyber attacks on AVs, it could further erode public trust in this technology, hindering its adoption.

To address these concerns, AV manufacturers and other stakeholders need to prioritize effective cybersecurity in the development and deployment of these vehicles from the start. “Changing the mindset to one that includes cybersecurity in the manufacturing process,” as Roy puts it, will be instrumental in guaranteeing these safety standards. This means manufacturers and companies like C2A will need to help in implementing robust security measures to prevent cyber attacks, regularly testing and updating these systems to stay ahead of potential threats.

So as we begin understanding the real threats that exist when it comes to AVs, we come to see a need for true security measures that will protect us in more ways than one. Roy’s company, and others like it, are already working with industry leaders to provide these solutions. And, let us hope that as the industry develops and grows, more and more security measures will be adopted not just as add-ons but as quintessential parts of the vehicular building experience.