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Safety & Security

Secure middleware for IP-based in-vehicle communication

July 21, 2010 | Gerrit Grotewold, Kay Weckemann, Pedro Correia, Alexander Camek | 222900971
Secure middleware for IP-based in-vehicle communication For in-car communication networks, IP is increasingly seen as an option, with security addressed at the network and at the application layer. A middleware handling security issues could drastically simplify the software requirements.
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Focus is pointed on system software for communication within an IP-based in-vehicle network. Thereby security requirements are addressed by an abstraction layer for communication – a secure communication middleware.

The goal of a communication middleware is to offer an abstraction from the underlying communication layers to the application developer. The same should hold true for security mechanism: In order to achieve crypto-agility – i. e. the possibility to easily exchange cryptographic algorithms if needed – a suitable security abstraction is required. While an application developer decides on security requirements, the communication middleware abstracts from the actually used security mechanisms.

Fig. 1. IP will be the convergence layer of in-vehicle networks. For full resolution, click here 

In today's in-vehicle communication systems, security is addressed both at application layer and by other means, e. g. network architecture. Application layer security solutions offer good individual adoption per application on the one hand, but on the other hand require each application to use and bind security libraries, which practically leads to a wide variety of security bundles over the system. Offering security as a service of an underlying middleware layer would homogenize the overall set of security features and thereby increase maintainability and crypto-agility.

Figure 2: Relevant functionality of an automotive communication middleware

 The following section gives an introduction to the relevant automotive requirements. Afterwards, we motivate our approach towards a secure middleware solution. The article concludes with an overview of relevant existing security protocols we will be investigating for adoption within the next months.

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