Mission and Objectives

Vehicular communications (VC) and inter-vehicular communications (IVC) bring the promise of improved road safety and optimized road traffic through co-operative systems applications. To this end a number of initiatives have been launched, such as the Car-2-Car consortium in Europe, or the DSRC in North America. A prerequisite for the successful deployment of vehicular communications is to make them secure. For example, it is essential to make sure that life-critical information cannot be modified by an attacker; it should also protect as far as possible the privacy of the drivers and passengers. The specific operational environment (moving vehicles, sporadic connectivity, etc.) makes the problem very novel and challenging.

Because of the challenges, a research and development roadmap is needed. We consider Sevecom to be the first phase of a longer term undertaking. In this first phase, we aim to define a consistent and future-proof solution to the problem of VC/IVC security.

Sevecom will focus on communications specific to road traffic. This includes messages related to traffic information, anonymous safety-related messages, and liability-related messages. The following research and innovation work is foreseen:

  • Identification of the variety of threats: attacker's model and potential vulnerabilities; in particular, study of attacks against the radio channel and transferred data, but also against the vehicle itself through internal attacks, e.g., against TCU (Telematics Control Unit), ECU (Electronic Control Unit) and the internal control bus.
  • Specification of an architecture and of security mechanisms which provide the right level of protection. It will address issues such as the apparent contradiction between liability and privacy, or the extent to which a vehicle can check the consistency of claims made by other vehicles. The following topics will be fully addressed : Key and identity management, Secure communication protocols (including secure routing), Tamper proof device and decision on crypto-system, Privacy. The following topics will be investigated in preparation of further work: Intrusion Detection, Data consistency, Secure positioning, Secure user interface.
  • The definition of cryptographic primitives which take into account the specific operational environment. The challenge is to address (1) the variety of threats, (2) the sporadic connectivity created by moving vehicles and the resulting real-time constraints, (3) the low-cost requirements of embedded systems in vehicles. These primitives will be adaptations of existing cryptosystems to the VC environment.

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