Irdeto partners with Ford Trucks on cybersecurity

Digital platform cybersecurity firm Irdeto recently announced a strategic partnership with Ford Trucks in which Irdeto will provide Ford’s heavy commercial brand with a fully managed, ISO 27001-certified key lifecycle management service. Netherlands-based Irdeto said the customizable service is intended to meet the changing needs of Ford Trucks’ product lines and electronic control units (ECUs), ensuring the highest level of security and trust in connected devices.­

Irdeto’s Keys & Credentials service is a comprehensive security solution that manages the entire lifecycle of trusted identities and secured firmware for connected devices, the company said. This ensures each vehicle is authenticated and safeguarded against potential cyber threats.

According to Irdeto, the service is ISO 207001 certified — a standard that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) said addresses the requirements an information security management system (ISMS) must meet. “Conformity with ISO/IEC 27001 means that an organization or business has put in place a system to manage risks related to the security of data owned or handled by the company,” ISO said on its website.

A Matter of Trust

Niels Haverkorn. (Photo: Irdeto)

“The fundamentals of it are that we create a root, a source of trust, between connected devices withing the vehicle itself but also between the vehicle and other entities,” said Niels Haverkorn, senior vice president for new markets at Irdeto.

As an example, he said that for an electric truck to safely recharge, there must be a source of trust between the truck and the charging station.

“In other words, so that it’s not a hacker standing on the side of the road with a laptop that says I have now charged this truck for, you know, $100, and I’m hereby sending the bill, and the truck automatically accepts it,” Haverkorn said.

Public key management is a way of ensuring that doesn’t happen at charging stations, Haverkorn said. It creates the source of trust between two devices that don’t know each other.

“It could for example be an entertainment device in the vehicle or a mobile phone in the vehicle,” he said. “Or it could be the charging station.”

Increasing Connectivity

According to Haverkorn, vehicles of all kinds are becoming ever more connected.

“That is, on the one hand, connected to all kinds of devices, connected to other vehicles via all kinds of sensors, things like adaptive cruise controls, for example,” he said.

Haverkorn added that connections to the cloud and internet are increasing for functions related to safety and security, such as e-emergency services that allow vehicles to immediately and automatically connect to emergency services in the event of an accident — a requirement for all vehicles entering the market in Europe.

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Another factor contributing to vehicle connectivity is the growth of electric vehicles.

“Electrification is a big element in that, as well as the electrification of the drivetrain, [which] tends to come together with an increased connectivity requirement and necessity around it,” Haverkorn said.

This increase in vehicle connectivity is driving the growing need for cybersecurity solutions, Haverkorn said.

Managing the Lifecycle

Irdeto’s public keys must be managed throughout the lifecycle of the vehicle to avoid the possibility that they are hacked. Irdeto’s service also makes it possible to revoke keys.

Image: Gorodenkoff via Adobe Stock

For example, the key can be linked to a specific user or a driver,” he said. “When the vehicle changes, you want to make sure that you can revoke that key and replace it with a new key.”

Irdeto called its collaboration with Ford Trucks timely in light of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Regulation No. 155, which became effective in January 2021 and addresses cybersecurity related to vehicles and their electronic components. The Irdeto solution addresses these regulatory demands, the company said, and provides the flexibility to adapt to evolving cybersecurity needs without significant upfront investments in security infrastructure.

“UNECE R-155 is really about ensuring the lifetime security of a vehicle, or resilience, as it’s very often called,” said Niels Haverkorn, senior vice president for new markets at Irdeto. “That means that not only are standardizations and regulations looking at ensuring that we design vehicles with security in mind but also that connected vehicles are secured throughout their lifetime.”

Emrah Duman, Ford Trucks leader, said the collaboration underscores Ford Truck’s dedication to vehicle security and trust in the connected world.

“Together with Irdeto, we are driving forward into a new era of automotive innovation, where security and technology converge to create smarter, safer vehicles for the future,” he said.

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