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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

State of the Art: Embedding Security in Vehicles

EURASIP Journal on Embedded Systems20072007:074706

  • Received: 19 October 2006
  • Accepted: 13 April 2007
  • Published:


For new automotive applications and services, information technology (IT) has gained central importance. IT-related costs in car manufacturing are already high and they will increase dramatically in the future. Yet whereas safety and reliability have become a relatively well-established field, the protection of vehicular IT systems against systematic manipulation or intrusion has only recently started to emerge. Nevertheless, IT security is already the base of some vehicular applications such as immobilizers or digital tachographs. To securely enable future automotive applications and business models, IT security will be one of the central technologies for the next generation of vehicles. After a state-of-the-art overview of IT security in vehicles, we give a short introduction into cryptographic terminology and functionality. This contribution will then identify the need for automotive IT security while presenting typical attacks, resulting security objectives, and characteristic constraints within the automotive area. We will introduce core security technologies and relevant security mechanisms followed by a detailed description of critical vehicular applications, business models, and components relying on IT security. We conclude our contribution with a detailed statement about challenges and opportunities for the automotive IT community for embedding IT security in vehicles.


  • Information Technology
  • Business Model
  • Electronic Circuit
  • Automotive Application
  • Security Mechanism

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Authors’ Affiliations

Horst-Görtz-Institute for IT Security, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstraße, Bochum, 44780, Germany
escrypt-Embedded Security GmbH, Lise-Meitner-Allee 4, Bochum, 44801, Germany


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© Wolf et al. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.