Sweden opens advanced automotive cyber security centre

Sweden opens advanced automotive cyber security centre

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Sweden’s state-owned research institute RISE is launching what it claims to be Europe’s most advanced cyber security initiative for vehicle testing. The RISE Cyber Test Lab for Automotive will enable the automotive industry to test vehicles using the latest cyber technology and the world’s most rigorous testing methods. 

The Cyber Test Lab will work with international telecommunications experts and ethical hackers to develop new methods and test rigs to address the growing cyber threat against vehicles. In this context, the founders hope to gain numerous relevant insights. The partnership is unique in tackling what has become a key concern for manufacturers competing to build connected vehicles, the research institute claims.

“We are establishing a world-leading hub with several test beds and scientists working with carefully selected partners. We will address the burgeoning cyber threat related to linked vehicles today and in the future. Automakers cannot work alone in finding ways to combat cyber attacks. This needs to be done with the broadest possible range of expertise to ensure that the entire industry benefits from centralised research,” said RISE CEO Pia Sandvik.

Cars becoming increasingly exposed to cyberattacks

The Cyber Test Lab is being launched at a time when it is becoming increasingly obvious that vehicles urgently need increased protection against cyber attacks.

  • Vehicles with embedded connectivity will account for approximately 80% of connected vehicle sales by 2026 (Businesswire, January 2022),
  • According to McKinsey & Company, about 95 % of new vehicles sold globally will be connected by 2030, up from about 50 % today.
  • The automotive industry is expected to lose $505 billion to cyberattacks by 2024. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated: 84.5% of attacks in 2021 were carried out remotely. (Upstream security, January 2022)

After several high-profile cyberattacks on vehicles around the world, RISE 2021 began planning a dedicated automotive cybersecurity test lab. The Cyber Test Lab will test vulnerabilities in all major areas – virtual testing/digital twins, embedded software in vehicle units (ECU), cloud-based vehicle software.

The Cyber Test Lab offers testing services such as simulation/virtualisation, subsystem testing, semi-virtual and full vehicle testing in controlled environments. It provides a full chain of testing capabilities by linking our existing Cyber Range with the AWITAR and Asta Zero automotive test benches. This allows manufacturers to test new technologies and products under stressful conditions throughout the research and development process.  

“It may sound controversial, but we firmly believe that working with ethical hackers is critical to testing vehicles to their limits. The ethical hackers are selected partners from our existing Cyber Range in Stockholm. The launch of the Cyber Test Lab is particularly important at a time when cyber attacks and cyber threats against infrastructures and linked technologies have become a rapidly growing problem worldwide,” says Tomas Bodeklint, Head of the Cyber Test Lab.

Automotive-related EU cybersecurity standards in the offings

The focus on the automotive industry was an obvious starting point in a country that is home to some of the world’s best-known global automotive companies, such as Scania, Volvo Trucks, Volvo Cars and Koenigsegg. Sweden is also home to innovative new start-ups such as Einride, Polestar and Volta Trucks, as well as companies offering advanced technologies for connected and self-driving vehicles.

The European Union’s cybersecurity organisation, ENISA, is already preparing EU cybersecurity standards and certifications. With the launch of the Cyber Test Lab, RISE will become the leading European provider of test methods and research underpinning this certification process.

RISE already hosts world-leading test sites for road systems and self-driving vehicle research at AstaZero and AWITAR outside Gothenburg. These two test sites are integrated into the Cyber Test Lab.

The RISE Cyber Test Lab will start advanced testing in early 2023. In preparation for this, pilot projects are already in full swing, simulating cyber attacks on vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

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