Harman automotive cyber-security system

From the Harman press release:

A few years ago the concept of automotive cyber security was largely confined to industry experts,” says Harman’s Asaf Atzmon, Director, Business Development and Marketing, Automotive Cyber Security. “Now it’s a topic that consumers are asking about. According to a recent survey, in some countries as many as 59 per cent of buyers are actively concerned about the prospect of car hacking.”

Harman has devised a specially-developed 5+1 security framework which consists of a series of layers that protects the car’s head unit from being compromised and used as a portal into the in-vehicle network (something which could jeopardise safety critical systems). It can be thought of like the layers of an onion.

Above: A diagram illustrating Harman's security system that incorporates the 'ECU shield' technology from the company's acquisition of Towersec in early 2016.

Above: The six 'onion-like' layers of Harman's security system.

While it is worth verifying and contextualising the statistic quoted by Atzmon, automotive cyber security is indeed becoming an increasingly critical aspect of vehicle technology. This is especially evident in the wake of demonstrations highlighting the catastrophic impact that a cyber attack can have on a car's safety and mobility.

Perhaps the best example of this increasingly rapid and methodical computerisation of cars is Harman itself, which until recently was known almost exclusively as a manufacturer of high-end audio systems under brands such as Bowers & Wilkins, JBL, Harman/Kardon and Mark Levinson. I strongly suspect that the company's audio business will soon be displaced by, or at a minimum, be given equal importance to, the firm's cyber-security and other automotive technology businesses.