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Unsettled Topics Concerning the Impact of Quantum Technologies on Automotive Cybersecurity

  • Research Report
  • EPR2020026
To be published on December 30, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Quantum computing is considered the “next big thing” which will help solving computational problems which are impossible to resolve using conventional computers within reasonable timeframes. However, one of the major concerns is that quantum computers could be used to “crack” current cryptographic schemes that are designed to withstand cyberattacks performed through conventional computers. Although there are no commercial versions of quantum computers available at this time which could threaten current cryptography, connected and automated vehicles (AVs) that are introduced to the market within the next few years could become the target of cyberattacks performed by quantum computers.
These vehicles will become embedded in a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) ecosystem where encrypted data is transmitted between a complex network of cloud-based data servers, vehicle-based data servers, vehicle sensors, and vehicle controllers. Whereas the backend hardware can be updated more frequently, the vehicle hardware typically is used for many years without a change. Conversely, the software will be updated both on the vehicle and the backend side many times. Therefore, it is essential to make the V2X ecosystem “quantum-safe” through use of “post-quantum cryptography” as well other applicable quantum technologies, which can counter the quantum threat. This will require hardware with significant computational power. Recent automotive cybersecurity studies revealed that both the vehicle control system as well as the backend are a major target for data breaches. Consequently, investments are needed both in cloud security, network security, and in-vehicle security. Building a defense strategy through quantum-resistant cryptography absolutely requires an end-to-end strategic effort.
This SAE EDGE™ Research Report considers the following three areas to be unsettled questions in the V2X ecosystem: • How soon will quantum computing pose a threat to connected and automated vehicle technologies? • What steps and measures are needed to make a V2X ecosystem “quantum-safe?” • What standardization is needed to ensure that quantum technologies do not pose an unacceptable risk from an automotive cybersecurity perspective? NOTE: SAE EDGE™ Research Reports are intended to identify and illuminate key issues in emerging, but still unsettled, technologies of interest to the mobility industry. The goal of SAE EDGE™ Research Reports is to stimulate discussion and work in the hope of promoting and speeding resolution of identified issues. SAE EDGE™ Research Reports are not intended to resolve the issues they identify or close any topic to further scrutiny