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TCA report outlines key security concerns

Transport Certification Australia (TCA) has released a report exploring the security of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs).

The report, entitled Key Decisions to Progress Australian Deployment of a Security Credential Management System, is intended to inform security decisions that TCA says need to be made in Australia.

“Security is an essential backbone to ensure the safe and secure operation of CAVs,” said TCA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Koniditsiotis.

“CAVs depend on vehicles, road-side infrastructure and other road users communicating with each other in real-time. This means what we see as possible blurring between the transport and communication spheres, is in reality, its necessary and inevitable integration. Our aim is to ensure that this is seamless and secure.

“The operation of CAVs – and the safety of all road users – depends on new and integrated safety and security mechanisms being established.”

The internationally agreed security approach for CAVs is known as the Security Credential Management System (SCMS), which is currently being deployed in the United States and in Europe.

According to the US Department of Transportation, "A key component of connected vehicle applications is the assurance that messages received from other devices are valid, i.e., a received message has not been sent by a hacker or simply a malfunctioning device.

"Traffic management functions, and even more crucially, split-second collision avoidance, depend on establishing that received messages can be trusted as accurate. The mechanism that will ensure connected vehicle messages can be trusted is the SCMS."

According to the TCA, a SCMS is not just a technical system, as it also encompasses the people, policies, processes and technologies that provide security for CAVs.

With consideration now underway in Australia, the TCA report outlines the key issues for the consideration of decision makers.

“This report – which is the first of its kind – specifically maps the key issues and options in an Australian context,” Koniditsiotis said.

“Like any key piece of infrastructure, a SCMS needs to be approached as a long-term national investment: the product of careful policy, planning and consideration as to its capability and longevity, and the organisational elements necessary to operate and maintain it.”

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