Telekom initiative: Protect cars with cyber defense center

Telekom initiative: Protect cars with cyber defense center
Cybersecurity has become a matter in car industry. Today 30 percent of all vehicles are on the road as rolling hotspots in German road traffic. The internet supports drivers. Assistance services bring safety and comfort. At the same time there is growing concern about hackers. Without adequate protection cyber criminals can access a vehicle via the Internet from anywhere in the world.

With a new initiative Deutsche Telekom is offering support to the automotive industry. A special Telekom defense center for cars could contribute to protection in the future. Telekom Security CEO Dirk Backofen said: "Connected vehicles need a digital bodyguard. Hackers do not stop in front of our cars. Connected driving will not be possible without real-time cyber defence."

Bonn Center for cyber defense protects Telekom and companies

The Cyber Defense and Security Operation Center (SOC) protects Deutsche Telekom's IT. The Group established the center in Bonn in 2017. The SOC also secures several DAX 30 companies and a large number of SMEs. Deutsche Telekom has similar centers around the world. They are all linked with each other and form a network together with the Bonn based SOC.

240 experts fend off attacks in the SOCs around the clock. They analyze what hackers intend to do or are capable of doing. And investigate their tactics (threat intelligence). IT forensics are also involved in criminal activities. They reconstruct attacks and secure evidence. With all the information gained Telekom improves its own technology for cyber defence. Important data is also provided by the 2,500 honeypots installed worldwide. The SOC is one of the largest and most modern defense centers in Europe.

How cyber defense works for connected cars

A defence center for cars integrated into existing SOCs has many advantages. The Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Systems is already supporting the automotive industry in the development of connected and autonomously driving cars. In a so-called Car SOC Telekom combines its expertise in security with knowledge in the automotive sector. In this way the industry gains valuable insights in the fight against car hackers. And it benefits from knowledge about attacks on medium-sized suppliers or other industries with critical infrastructures. The defense systems are self-learning. If a hacker attacks a company, the SOC defends all companies. And this in real time. The same applies to cars. If someone attacks a car, the SOC defends everyone else as well.

Successful car hacks sharpen cyber awareness in automotive industry

The automotive industry is aware of the issue of security for connected vehicles: The law firm Foley & Lardner interviewed executives in the USA and Asia about connected cars. Almost two-thirds said they were considering the issue of security. Europeans are also moving closer together. 15 car manufacturers of the ACEA car association are an example. They plan to discuss cybersecurity with authorities and industry in the future.

There were repeated occasions for reflection: Belgian experts recently published the vulnerability in a radio key. The researchers cloned it. Then they opened and started the car.  Malware is another danger to the on-board network. It spreads quickly in the vehicle. The faster the reaction, the lower the damage. 

The EU requires E-Call for connected cars since 2018 

Internet in the car today is not only a desire for equipment.  Since March 31 2018 all new vehicle models in the EU are required the E-Call emergency call system. An integrated SIM card brings the Internet into the car. In the event of an accident the vehicle sends an emergency call. According to the EU Commission this saves 2,500 lives every year.


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