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Securing in-vehicle infotainment domain (Part 2)

Posted: 27 Jan 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Open source  operating systems  Genivi 

A key idea here is that this solution creates a protected connection, logically out-of-band from the main system. Because encryption keys, server certificates, and protocol software are managed within native lightweight processes, these critical data cannot be stolen or corrupted by the guest operating system, regardless of malware infiltration.

Furthermore, the native security sub-system is able to take advantage of TPM (or equivalent) capabilities, if present, for hardware-based storage of keys and for platform attestation. The secure connection defeats man-in-the-middle attacks as well as malware attacks that would attempt to commandeer the cryptographic keys used for secure communications.

Genivi is an industry alliance promulgating in-vehicle infotainment reference platforms, with the goal of reducing time-to-market and development cost. These reference platforms include the pre-competitive features that every system is deemed to need, allowing individual organisations to concentrate on innovative features that drive competitive advantage.

A core principle towards meeting these goals is a focus on open standards and associated compliance certification. With the traditional infotainment system role fulfilled by powerful general-purpose operating systems, it should come as no surprise that Genivi's initial reference platforms are focused on Linux distributions that meet the requirements of the Genivi compliance statement.

Looking forward, automotive infotainment stakeholders, including OEMs and their suppliers, government regulators, and passengers, must look beyond the multimedia system to a new world of mixed criticality requirements. Next-generation systems software architectures are required in order to ensure that future complex, feature-rich infotainment systems are delivered with the reliability, security, real-time performance, and controlled footprint that the automotive industry and consumers alike demand.

Future in-car systems will see a convergence of safety-critical functionality with traditional telematics and digital entertainment applications. Bringing these capabilities onto a single compute platform is critical in order to minimise size, weight, power, production cost, and electronics complexity. However, doing this safely requires a new systems architectural approach.

One promising sandboxing approach is Type-1 system virtualisation that can isolate and manage real-time, safety, and security-critical applications alongside powerful open source multimedia operating systems. In addition, the availability of virtualisation technology across a wide range of computing platforms provides developers and technologists with the ultimate open platform: the ability to run any flavour of operating system in any combination, creating an unprecedented flexibility for deployment and usage. This flexibility is as welcome in the automobile as it is in desktops and servers.

About the authors
David Kleidermacher is chief technology officer at Green Hills Software.

Matt Jones is the vice president of Genivi Alliance.

To download the PDF version of this article, click here.

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