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Once your car's connected to the Internet, who guards your privacy?

Lucas Mearian | Sept. 19, 2014
Once mobile devices are connected to car infotainment systems and cars are connected to the Internet, vehicles will become a rich source of data for manufacturers, marketers, insurance providers and the government. Oh, and they'll be a lucrative target for hackers, too.

As video cameras and sensors are added to vehicles to support new safety features, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), vehicle manufacturers are eyeing the use of Ethernet inside a car instead of the CAN bus, making car computers even more vulnerable to attacks because of the ubiquitous nature of Ethernet, Morrison said.

Ethernet is joined by about a half-dozen other in-vehicle communication protocols, such as LIN (Local Interconnect Network), MOST (Media Oriented Systems Transport) and FlexRay — aimed at increasing bandwidth to and from the car as vehicle monitoring systems become more sophisticated.

Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-retail (V2R) will be two of the most dominant segments of the connected automobile market over the next decade or more.

By 2030, more than 459 million vehicles will support V2I and 406 million will support V2R, according to ABI Research.

Vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-person V2P technology are expected to be in 163 million and 239 million vehicles, respectively, according to ABI Research.

High-profile examples of connected-car applications that will be part of the Internet of Things include Volvo's Roam Delivery service, the partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Nest on remotely controlling home thermostats, the Toyota-Panasonic effort to integrate cars with home appliances, vehicle-to-grid services from GM and Toyota, and Nissan's Nismo smartwatch, which tracks both personal healthcare metrics and vehicle diagnostics.

In order to fully unlock the potential of the automotive segment of the Internet of Things, it will be critical to address a wide range of barriers, according to ABI research. Those issues include concerns about security, safety, regulation and the lack of cross-industry standards.

"Everything that hits the Internet is not 100% safe. There are cyberattacks all the time," said Bronte said. "There's no such thing as a 100% safe network. So as soon as something gets connected, there's a risk that someone could get hands on that data."


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